Rublev, Hurkacz Seek Second ATP Masters 1000 Titles In Shanghai Final

  • Posted: Oct 14, 2023

Rublev, Hurkacz Seek Second ATP Masters 1000 Titles In Shanghai Final

Ahead of first meeting of 2023, pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head is tied at 2-2

Two of the ATP Tour’s great power players will meet on Sunday in the Rolex Shanghai Masters singles final. While both Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz are sure to light up the radar gun, the two competitors —  both in search of a second ATP Masters 1000 crown — will attack the match in very different ways.

Rublev, this year’s Monte-Carlo champion, is most effective from the ground. His bruising baseline game helped him to the biggest triumph of his career earlier this season on the Monaco clay, and it has provided the foundation for the fifth seed’s run to the Shanghai final.

“Andrey, obviously, hits every single ball 200 kilometres per hour, and he just goes after the shots,” Hurkacz said of Rublev, who has not lost a set in five wins. “He just brings so much energy on the court. He’s a great competitor.”

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Hurkacz’s game is largely built around his booming serve, a weapon that helped him defeat Sebastian Korda without facing a break point in the semi-finals. The Pole’s prime deliveries often set him up to attack on serve (if they come back into play) and also free him up to be aggressive on return.

“Hubi is [such a] tough player. He’s really tough to play against,” Rublev said of the 16th seed, who will be his fifth straight seeded opponent in Shanghai. “He has good strokes from baseline. He has good [feel]. He moves well, really well, especially for his height. He really has a good defensive game. The serve, one of the best serves on tour, makes him a really, really tough player that you need to be all the time super focussed [against].”

Statistics from Tennis Insights forecast the tactical battle in store on Sunday. Rublev’s well-rounded game is anchored by his lethal forehand, which has scored an 8.7 Shot Quality out of 10 this week. That score is trumped only by Hurkacz’s 9.3 mark on serve. Both players are above the ATP Tour average by every measure in the below graphic, with the exception of Hurkacz’s backhand and his Steal score, which measures how often a player wins points from defence.

Hurkacz will be competing in his third ATP Masters 1000 final, having won the Miami title in 2021 and finished runner-up in Montreal in 2022. That Montreal defeat is the lone blemish on the Pole’s 6-1 record in tour-level singles finals. Rublev is 14-8 in title matches, including Masters 1000 final defeats in Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati in 2021.

In addition to the prestigious Shanghai crown, there will be a lot on the line Sunday in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. Rublev could move 1,500 points inside the cut for the Nitto ATP Finals with his fourth title of the season, a result that would further cement his position in fifth place. A victory would all but secure his place in Turin alongside the already-qualified Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner.

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The 25-year-old would also rise to a career-high of No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with the title.

Hurkacz, already up three places to 13th this week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, would surge to 11th with his second title of 2023. That would put him just 335 points behind Holger Rune, who currently occupies the all-important eighth-place position.

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