Rublev, Shelton through to the quarterfinals after five-set thrillers
While it wasn’t the last point the match deserved, it was a fitting conclusion to an unpredictable fight that saw the lead swap places multiple times, including in the super tiebreak itself, and both men proved they could quickly recover from disappointment.
25-year-old Rublev of Russia will need to channel that tenacity to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal. To do so, he must beat either nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic or Australia’s Alex De Minaur, who were due to play their fourth-round match later on Monday night.
“Nobody wants to compete against Novak,” admitted Rublev.
Although the scoreboard and tie-break indicated an exciting contest, Rublev was the better player for most of the game, gaining 168 points against Rune’s 158 and serving at a higher level. Rune landed just 56 percent of first serves and made 12 double faults in the opening four sets – although he improved his serve significantly in the third set.
Rublev, on the other hand, hit 58 winners and 37 unforced errors for the match – compared to Rune’s 44 winners and 60 unforced errors.
A disappointed Rune said the loss was “not the end of the world” but it would take time for him to get over it. “This hurts a lot,” he said. “I had all the chances I could want, I just didn’t close them.
“He was better than me in important moments. He might have been a little luckier than me. I might have been a bit passive on a few points, but he might have missed a few [instead] he made them.”
At the John Cain Arena, Shelton – ranked 89th and enjoying his first trip outside the United States – won the fifth set 6-2 to secure his way into the last eight, winning the match in three hours and 47 minutes.
Wolf, ranked 67th, won the first set 7-6 after deciding the tie break 7-5. From then on, little separated the players as they went set by set before sending the duel into a decider.
Wolf had called the physio at the end of the fifth game in the last set to get his hamstring treated. Shelton said it was a “grueling match” against his fellow American.
“There were a lot of swings throughout the game, it went to him and then to me,” he said afterwards on the pitch. “It’s always hard to play against a friend…I knew it was going to be a fight.”
Shelton meets the winner of a fourth-round encounter between Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and America’s Tommy Paul, who were each suspended in a set Monday night at press time.
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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/rublev-shelton-through-to-quarters-after-five-set-thrillers-20230123-p5cew7.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Rublev, Shelton through to the quarterfinals after five-set thrillers