MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 11:  Lucas Pouille of France (L) congratulates Andrey Rublev of Russia (R) after being defeated by him during day three of the 2018 Kooyong Classic at Kooyong on January 11, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Rublev roars back from a set down to beat Pouille at Kooyong

Posted on January 11, 2018

Russian youngster Andrey Rublev fought back strongly in his debut at the Kooyong Classic to defeat Lucas Pouille in three sets playing in very hot and sunny conditions just days out from the Australian Open.

 

In the strong Melbourne sun, the world No. 32 played some expansive shots from both sides of the court winning the match 3-6 6-1 6-4 to give him even more confidence to start the season.

 

“It was a great match in preparation for the Australian Open,” Rublev said.

 

“I was feeling fine, it was a bit tough at the beginning because the court is a little bit faster compared to Doha where I was last week.

 

“In the beginning it was a little bit tough to find the rhythm but in the end everything was great.

 

“Especially it’s only 20 minutes away from Rod Laver Arena so it’s the same conditions and we’ll see in a couple of days (where I’m at).”

 

The 20-year-old, who played against Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the US Open last year, won the Croatian Open on clay last July and is in good form after making the final in Doha last week.

 

“We were training really hard, the off-season was really good and I want to show this season that I did some improvements and we will see in my game, time will show,” Rublev added.

 

“After a few good results last year my confidence is much better now (against the top players) and I feel that I can play with them, but now I need to be more consistent to give them a good fight.”

 

Pouille acknowledged the level of play from his young opponent and the world No. 18 was satisfied with his own fitness and form ahead of this year’s first Grand Slam following a heavy training block.

 

“Well it was difficult the court was very fast, and Andrey is a very good player in good form,” Pouille said after the match.

 

“I mean he was in the final in Doha so he’s playing some great tennis and it was a tough match.

 

“I’m pretty good, a bit tired, I worked hard while I’ve been in Australia which is why I arrived pretty early here, so I can’t wait to start this tournament.”

 

The 23-year-old from France will be looking to progress out of the first round at the Australian Open for the first time, with his best Grand Slam runs coming two years ago where he made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

“It was nice, you can feel the history in this place, it’s a very beautiful club and tournament,” Pouille said of the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

 

“I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to come.”

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