Ugo Humbert did not go very far from a very good performance in Saint Petersburg. Laborious for his entry into the running on Wednesday, the Messin was able to raise his level Thursday to seriously threaten Andrey Rublev in front of his audience. Seed number 3 in the tournament and a new member of the top 10, the Russian had to whip to overcome the French in three sets (4-6, 6-4, 7-5) and 2h14 of combat. By validating his 31st victory of the season – he is the only player to have more than 30 successes with Novak Djokovic in 2020 – he qualified for a quarter-final where he will face Briton Cameron Norrie.
It was the first duel on the circuit between the two men and the French entered the game without complexes. Competing from the outset in the exchange, he also protected his commitment, not conceding a single break point in the first set. Embarrassed by the short crossed angles found by the tricolor left-hander, Rublev was surprised in the 10th game of the game by the dazzling resonance of an opposing winning return, then by a superb forehand counter after a 22-strike exchange at high speed . Humbert thus took the lead with the manner.
Humbert paid dearly for a slight devolution
Unfortunately for him, and it is perhaps the great regret of his match, the Messin was slightly distracted in the wake. While he was quietly leading 40/0 on his first service game of the 2nd set, he accumulated faults and ended up giving up his commitment for the first time after more than 8 minutes of intense pressure (4-6, 1- 0). The slack was extended and allowed Rublev to take off and a double break in advance (4-6, 4-0). A very useful security for him since, despite a little relaxation and a first break, he set the record straight.
Humbert put a lot of heart into the work in the final act. Proof of the intensity of the fight: if he made more mistakes than his opponent (32 against 23), he hit more winning shots (30 to 28). He held onto Rublev until 5-5, before conceding a crippling white break. The joy and relief of the 10th player in the world matched his disappointment. But in Saint Petersburg, the Messin found great sensations, enough to approach the rest of the end of the indoor season in good condition.