Published: 12:40, August 31, 2021 | Updated: 12:40, August 31, 2021
Flawless Rublev downs qualifier Karlovic in US Open first round
By Reuters

Andrey Rublev, of Russia, returns a shot to Ivo Karlovic, of Croatia, during the first round of the US Open tennis championships, Aug 30, 2021, in New York. (JOHN MINCHILLO / AP)

NEW YORK - World number seven Andrey Rublev made short work of veteran qualifier Ivo Karlovic in the US Open first round on Monday, beating the tricky Croatian 6-3 7-6 (3) 6-3 to set up a clash with Pedro Martinez.

Up next for Andrey Rublev is Pedro Martinez who was made to work hard by Australian James Duckworth before sealing a 4-6 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2 6-2 win

The Russian came into the year's final Grand Slam having reached the Cincinnati title clash and made a blistering start on Grandstand, winning the opening three games of the match before taking the first set in style.

The 42-year-old Karlovic, the oldest US Open qualifier in the Open Era, launched his comeback in the second set but Rublev held his nerve in the tiebreak, which he claimed with a forehand winner, before shifting gears in the final set.

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After racing to a 5-3 lead, the 23-year-old former Flushing Meadows quarter-finalist closed out the match on the back of his steady service game, forcing a backhand error from the towering Karlovic on match-point.

Rublev returned superbly throughout the match, effectively dealing with his 6-foot-11-inch opponent's fiery serve as he converted two breakpoints and fired 27 winners in a solid performance to begin his bid for a maiden Grand Slam title.

Up next for Rublev is Spaniard Martinez who was made to work hard by Australian James Duckworth before sealing a 4-6 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2 6-2 win.