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Wimbledon: Rublev leads Russian charge into fourth round

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London, July 2 (IANS) Fifth seed Andrey Rublev defeated Fabio Fognini 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in under three hours to enter the fourth round of Wimbledon Championships on Friday.

Rublev converted five of the 13 break-points, fired 13 aces and won 73 per cent of first service points.

The 23-year-old, who is world No. 7, won the first set in 43 minutes. The Italian came back in the second set after having conceded an early lead. He won three straight games after being 2-4 down to clinch the set.

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However, the Russian took the third set and in the fourth, he simply cruised. He won five straight games after being 0-1 down.

Earlier, Rublev’s fellow countryman Karen Khachanov defeated Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 46 minutes. Tiafoe’s straight-set loss was a surprise considering he had beaten third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round in straight sets.

The 25th seed Khachanov converted three of the six break-points and won 81 per cent of the first service points.

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If world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev beats Marin Cilic in the third round match on Saturday, then it will be only the third time since 1968 — when the Open era began — that three Russians would reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament.

Igor Andreev, Nikolay Davydenko, and Mikhail Youzhny reached fourth round at 2007 Australian Open while Medvedev, Rublev and Aslan Karatsev did that at this year’s Australian Open.

Among other early winners on Friday were 17th seed Cristian Garin, who defeated Pedro Martinez 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, and Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Dominik Koepfer 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(4).

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–IANS

kh/bsk

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