Qatar Open: Lehecka upsets Rublev to seal semifinal spot

The 21-year-old Czech entered the clash off the back of straight-set wins against Damir Dzumhur and Emil Ruusuvuori and he demonstrated his confidence levels in a heavy-hitting performance against the top seed.
Jiri Lehecka
Jiri Lehecka IANS

DOHA: Jiri Lehecka earned the biggest win of his career by ATP Ranking on Thursday at the Qatar Open, where he upset World No. 5 Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach his second tour-level semifinal, here.

The 21-year-old Czech entered the clash off the back of straight-set wins against Damir Dzumhur and Emil Ruusuvuori and he demonstrated his confidence levels in a heavy-hitting performance against the top seed.

Lehecka timed the ball cleanly off both wings, causing damage with his flat forehand to hit through a frustrated Rublev. He broke twice, sealing his victory after one hour and 41 minutes to improve to 1-1 in his ATP head-to-head series against Rublev.

"These past two months have been very great for me. I was very much looking forward to playing here in Doha on this beautiful centre court, so I am very happy with the win and looking forward to tomorrow," Lehecka said in his on-court interview.

The Czech will aim to advance to his first tour-level final when he faces former World No. 1 Andy Murray or French qualifier Alexandre Muller on Friday. Lehecka, who is up eight spots to No. 44 in the ATP Live Rankings, reached the semi-finals in Rotterdam last year.

Lehecka ended his 2022 season in style when he reached the Next Gen ATP Finals title match in Milan. Using that run as a springboard, he has made a fast start to 2023. The 21-year-old now holds an 11-3 record on the year, highlighted by his quarter-final run at the Australian Open, where he earned his first Top 10 win against Felix Auger-Aliassime.

"I have improved everything. Mostly my mentality on the court. I gained confidence from NextGen and now I have learnt how to use it," Lehecka said while reflecting on his progress.

Rublev was aiming to continue his impressive record at the ATP 250 hard-court event, having reached the final in 2018 and won the title in 2020.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
DT next
www.dtnext.in