MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Russian Andrey Rublev extended his winning streak to 11-0 for the season after coming back from a set and a break down to defeat 11th seed David Goffin of Belgium 2-6 7-6(3) 6-4 7-6(5) in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday.
The lanky 22-year-old arrived in Melbourne having won titles in Doha and Adelaide at the start of the season while he also won all four singles matches he contested at the season-ending Davis Cup Finals in November.
“To be honest, I was not even thinking about it, how many matches I win, how many matches I lose,” Rublev said. “Of course, it’s amazing that I won that many matches in a row.
“But ... tennis is this kind of sport that every week (there) is only going to be one winner. Most of the times you’re going to lose every week. There are all the top players here. Out of all top players, there’s going to be one winner.”
Rublev, currently at his career-high ranking of 16, had not lost a Tour-level match since Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat him in the first round at the Paris Masters in October.
But that 14-match winning streak appeared set to meet its end with Goffin serving for the second set at 5-4.
Rublev, however, got the set back on serve and did not look back from there on to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time.
With compatriots Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev also bidding to reach the fourth round in Melbourne, Rublev hoped they could revive tennis to the glorious days the sport enjoyed in Russia during Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
Next up for Rublev will be a fourth-round clash against the winner of the match between German seventh seed Alexander Zverev and Fernando Verdasco of Spain.
“Now only focus is to recover as fast as I can for the next matches. Now it’s more physical than mental,” he said. “These kind of events like Grand Slams, you know how tough it is to play best-of-five sets.”
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Michael Perry editing by xx