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Andrey Rublev rallies in tiebreaker to advance at Hamburg

Andrey Rublev saved three match points in a deciding-set tiebreaker to defeat Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the first round of the clay-court Hamburg European Open on Wednesday, as top-seeded Casper Ruud also won in three sets.

Rublev won 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7) after recovering from 4-6 down in the tiebreaker and admitted he had struggled to stay calm as he felt “tired and nervous” during the 2 hour, 53-minute match.

Since his quarterfinal loss to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, Rublev has now won five consecutive tour matches and took the Bastad title last week. Next up for the Russian is a second-round match with Daniel Altmaier.

French Open runner-up Ruud defeated Sebastian Baez 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in their first-round match, playing under the roof because of rain, and next takes on qualifier Cristian Garin.

Alexander Zverev reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over fellow German Maximilian Marterer. Zverev next plays 19-year-old Frenchman Luca van Assche, who managed an upset 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over seventh-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Defending champion Lorenzo Musetti will have to complete his second-round match against Jozef Kovalik on Thursday after play stopped Wednesday with Kovalik leading the Italian 6-3, 1-4.

Just two seeded players remain in the quarterfinals of the Hamburg women’s draw after sixth-seeded Yulia Putintseva was upset 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 by Jule Niemeier in their second-round match.

Arantxa Rus, seeded seventh, won 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 versus Nadia Podoroska. Rus joins the defending champion Bernarda Pera, seeded third, in the last eight and next plays Eva Lys.

Noma Noha Akugue, a 19-year-old German player, reached the quarterfinals of her first WTA Tour main draw in dramatic style after recovering from a disastrous start and saving two match points in a 0-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over Storm Hunter. Noha Akugue, who was born in the Hamburg suburbs, was a wild-card entry for the tournament. Hunter was herself coming off an upset win after beating top-seeded Donna Vekić in the first round.

Steve Carr

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