Crucial points and full summary of Rublev vs Hurkacz
In rally that Andrey Rublev seemingly didn’t move in, Hurkacz hit the ball into the left side of Rublev’s court while he was positioned on the centre line at 30-15 in the first set. This was Hurkacz on Rublev’s serve but we were still on serve though- and nobody had been broken. Not long after at 2-3, Rublev was in fact broken. It was only a matter of time- and Rublev was also behind Dimitrov in the second set of the semi-final, and history was itself in the first set of this match.
In the next important phase, Rublev approached the net and then slammed the ball down- following this by an inside-out forehand which lead Rublev to get the first point on Hurkacz’s serve at 2-2 15-0. This was proceeded by a passage of play where the ball was wide out from Hurkacz- lending a Rublev 30-15 lead. Hurkacz then recovered to hit an ace 30-30 to stay in this service game. Throughout this match, both players really could keep a rally- and in one of the next plays, a 15 point rally with Hurkacz going wide was a tribute to this.
In the next crucial phase, a high ball that left Hurkacz squinting caused Hurkacz to hit his smash return wide. Following this, Rublev made Hurkacz run around his forehand and hit his forehand in the opposite direction- providing Rublev an all important hold at 3-3 in the final set. Hurkacz was broken just once in the second set, but now Rublev was hanging on to the 3rd set- maintaining his service game. Shortly after, Hurkacz made the mistake on his serve and it was now 30-15 on his serve, with Rublev winning the point. A few games later, it was into the net from Hurkacz and Rublev run away to conjure up a break point at 5-5 in the 3rd set. An ace down the T then saved Hurkacz the ignominy of being broken a game away from the championship. However, Hurkacz continued to hold, and the match was still level and very much anybody’s game.
Both of Rublev and Hurkacz’s last service games were punctuated with aces, but in the one of the last points of the regulation set- Hurkacz returned up the line with Rublev on the other side. Rublev then went for the backhand slice while on the move and Hurkacz swooped in and ripped a forehand into the opposite corner. In incredible scenes following this passage of play, Rublev began yelling at a courtside photographer who was moving while he was at deuce to serve to stay in the match and title race. The crowd then began turning on Andrey Rublev and voiced their displeasure with a series of loud boos echoing throughout centre court. What went from a routine service game for Rublev quickly became a situation where Rublev was facing the shock of being 2 points from defeat in the blink of an eye.
Rublev continued to persevere to hold on to his serve- and it paid dividends. Hurkacz went long off the return, then was made to pay by Rublev who executed a risky dropshot on his backhand-which landed just centimetres over the net, rendering Hurkacz to make the error off the return. The match was now off to a tiebreak to decide the championship, and Andrey Rublev went up a mini break in this tiebreaker. Rublev was up 4-2 in this final set tiebreak-and from where he started to where he was 2 different situations in this match. Rublev then went up 5-2 in the tiebreak, but Hurkacz showed poise to hold his serve and bridge the gap a fair bit to 5-4. This was courtesy of an errant forehand from Rublev, followed by a return that didn’t go over the net. Rublev was then to serve for a 6-5 advantage but was broken back in this tiebreak to now lock the scores in at 5-5.
Rublev then showed some poise to stem the bleeding and recovered to at least keep his serve and went ahead 6-5 in the tiebreak. Rublev had the first championship point of the match, however, this is where it all got too costly for Rublev in the tiebreak. Hurkacz then blew his first championship point courtesy of a long ball, but Rublev lost his serve in the tiebreak right after. Hurkacz then had the 3rd championship point of the tournament, but blew it again off a wide return! Rublev then lost his serve again in the tiebreak and this was the final nail in the coffin in this championship. Hurkacz served for the championship-but Rublev showed immense courage to not lose the point immediately off the serve, but instead engaged in a rally which unfortunately ended in Rublev not getting the ball over the net. At this point, Hubert Hurkacz was officially the 2023 Shanghai Masters champion.