Birthday joy: Andrey Rublev on his way to victory at the Kremlin Cup
Moscow (AFP) - Russia’s Andrey Rublev celebrated his 22nd birthday in style by clinching the Kremlin Cup on Sunday to bag his second career title.
The sixth-seeded Rublev eased past France’s Adrian Mannarino, who was runner-up to another Russian Karen Khachanov last year, 6-4, 6-0 in a one-sided final.
Rublev, the world number 31 whose first title came in Umag in Croatia in 2017, had never won a match at his hometown tournament before this week.
“I’m at a loss. I can’t find the right words for what it means to me to win here,” Rublev said.
“I grew up with this tournament. I spent my whole childhood at the Kremlin Cup. I will remember this tournament and this win for many years, and I’ll hopefully be playing this tournament for many years down the road.”
In the women’s final, Belinda Bencic fought back from a set down to beat home star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
The victory came a day after the 22-year-old Swiss clinched the final slot at the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen, a tournament boasting record $14 million (12.53 million euros) prize money.
It is the first time that Bencic has reached the WTA Finals where she will line up with Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina.
“It feels unbelievable right now. I still can’t imagine it,” Bencic said.
“I had no pressure going into this match. We were so happy yesterday, celebrating Shenzhen and this is the cherry on top.”
Earlier this season Bencic won the WTA event in Dubai and reached the final at the Mallorca Open.