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Tennis: Flawless Rublev downs qualifier Karlovic in US Open first round

Tennis: Flawless Rublev downs qualifier Karlovic in US Open first round

Andrey Rublev returns the ball during his match against Alexander Zverev (GER not pictured) in the final during the Western and Southern Open final at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. (Photo: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK: World number seven Andrey Rublev made short work of veteran qualifier Ivo Karlovic in the US Open first round on Monday (Aug 30), beating the tricky Croatian 6-3 7-6 (3) 6-3 to set up a clash with Pedro Martinez.

The Russian came into the year's final Grand Slam having reached the Cincinnati title clash and made a blistering start on Grandstand, winning the opening three games of the match before taking the first set in style.

The 42-year-old Karlovic, the oldest US Open qualifier in the Open Era, launched his comeback in the second set but Rublev held his nerve in the tiebreak, which he claimed with a forehand winner, before shifting gears in the final set.

After racing to a 5-3 lead, the 23-year-old former Flushing Meadows quarter-finalist closed out the match on the back of his steady service game, forcing a backhand error from the towering Karlovic on match-point.

Rublev returned superbly throughout the match, effectively dealing with his 6-foot-11-inch opponent's fiery serve as he converted two breakpoints and fired 27 winners in a solid performance to begin his bid for a maiden Grand Slam title.

Up next for Rublev is Spaniard Martinez who was made to work hard by Australian James Duckworth before sealing a 4-6 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2 6-2 win.

Source: Reuters

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