Russia’s top two players will battle it out in the Australian Open quarter-finals after Casper Ruud was unable to finish his match.
Casper Ruud has retired after losing the first two sets of his fourth round match at the Australian Open and giving world No.8 Andrey Rublev an easier run into an all-Russian quarterfinal against fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev.
The No.24-seeded Ruud was forced to take a medical timeout during the second set where he had treatment for an apparent stomach muscle injury. Ruud, who trailed by a break early in the second set, later led 5-3 after winning four straight games before Rublev stormed back to force a tiebreak.
Rublev then owned the second set tiebreak for the match on Margaret Court Arena, with Ruud quitting due to his injury after falling behind 6-2, 7-6 (3). The timing of his retirement raised question marks given that he was battling through the injury up until dropping the second set.
In total, the match lasted 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Rublev now advances to a fourth Grand Slam quarterfinal and joins two other Russians in the last eight. It’s the first time in the Open era that three Russian men have reached the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament.
Medvedev earlier beat American Mackenzie McDonald in straight sets. Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev has also reached the quarter-finals in the other half of the draw.
“At least one of us [Russian players] will be in the semis,” Rublev said in his post-match interview.
“At least that’s the good news. But it’s going to be a tough match. I mean, last time he beat me in the quarters in the US Open.
“Now we’re again in quarters in the Australian Open. So we’ll see what’s going to happen. I hope we can show a great fight and great level.”
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