(Photo credit: Edgar Wasseige)
The final day at the 2019 Hamburg Open saw defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili taking on the Russian underdog Andrey Rublev. It was the pair’s second meeting, with Basilashvili beating Rublev emphatically in straight sets earlier in the season. History was also on the line for both players. Rublev was attempting to become the first Russian champion in Hamburg since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009. Basilashvili, meanwhile, was trying to be the first man since Roger Federer in 2005 to successfully defend their Hamburg Open title.
Basilashvili’s Love Affair With Hamburg Continues
It proved to be a thrilling match with both players hitting the ball cleanly and blasting winners from corner to corner. Rublev had looked to be in control of the first set when he broke the Georgian’s serve in the third game of the match. But shortly afterwards, the Georgian broke back, before stealing the first set off the young Russian 7-5 with another break at the death.
As in the first set, Rublev made the first move in the second, breaking Basilashvili’s serve at 4-3. And this time he did not falter, winning the set to force the final into a decider after just over 90 minutes.
In the third set, the Georgian started to hit the ball flawlessly and broke serve at 3-1 to give him the crucial break in the final. Rublev, despite his best efforts, was unable to break back. The defending champion brought up match point at 5-3 and sealed his second Hamburg Open title after Rublev missed off the backhand side.
It was another excellent week for Basilashvili, who has now claimed three titles at ATP 500 level and will surely be looking to take this confidence forward into the North American hard-court swing. Rublev, despite the defeat, he will return to the world’s top 50 in next week ranking. The Russian had been struggling with an elbow injury for sometime, so making his first 500 Series was something he did not expect to happen this week.
The Players’ Thoughts
“It was a good week for me. For the moment, my best week,” the 21-year-old Russian said. “Of course, it is always disappointing to lose in a final. But Nikoloz was playing really well and he deserves it. To win two years in a row here is amazing. It is really hard. It is really tough mentally and he did it. It’s unbelievable.”
“It looks like I am playing my best tennis here… I was really happy how I stayed mentally stable in both matches and did not give up,” said Basilashvili.
Basilashvili has now won ten straight main draw matches here at the Am Rothenbaum (12 including qualifying) and will return to his career-high ranking of 16 in the world.
Hamburg Open Final Day Results:
Nikoloz Basilashvili  d. Andrey Rublev 7-4 4-6 6-3