Rublev overtakes Evans to reach last eight in Madrid

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Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev (AFP)

Sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev reached the seventh Masters 1000 quarter-final of his career with a 7-6 (9/7), 7-5 result against Dan Evans of Great Britain in Madrid on Thursday.

It was the second blow of the day for the Britons as Andy Murray had previously withdrawn from his meeting with Novak Djokovic due to illness.

Rublev bounced back from 1-3 down in the opening set and saved a set point in the tiebreaker before securing the lead in an hour and 15 minutes.

In the second set, Rublev saw an early break-service lead erased by Evans before making a late move in game 11 to wrap up a hard-fought victory, his third in five meetings for the Briton.

The Russian finished the game with 46 winners, 34 of them on the forehand wing.

Rublev, who was also tested in his opener against Jack Draper, admits the tournament has been “stressful” for him so far, despite arriving in the Spanish capital after a title race in Belgrade.

“I go out onto the pitch thinking for sure today that I’m going to do everything and I’ll be calm and then I make really stupid, easy mistakes that don’t make any sense,” Rublev said.

“Then I manage to calm down and at the end this roller coaster starts.”

Rublev will face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Grigor Dimitrov in the next round.

Earlier today, former world number one Murray was forced to withdraw from his last 16 game against Djokovic, citing food poisoning.

“Unfortunately Andy Murray is ill and unable to play,” Madrid Open organizers said.

It would have been the 37th meeting between Murray and current world number one Djokovic, but the first since they met in the Doha final in January 2017.

Three-time Madrid champion Djokovic advances directly to the quarter-finals against Polish No. 12 seed Hubert Hurkacz or Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic.

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