Andrey Rublev grew so frustrated during a 7-5 6-2 loss to Carlos Alcaraz at the ATP Finals that he repeatedly hit himself with his racquet, drawing blood from his left knee. The Russian had already slammed his racket to the ground during the opening game of the second set. After missing a shot to hand Alcaraz a break, he started beating himself as he walked to his chair and then used a towel to wipe the blood off.
Blood continued to trickle down Rublev’s leg as he played on and he eventually called a trainer for treatment. “It’s OK,” Rublev said of his knee. “I get disappointed and couldn’t manage.”
The second-ranked Alcaraz ended an uncharacteristic three-match losing streak with a win over Rublev and boosted his chances of advancing from the round robin stage at the season-ending event for the year’s top eight players. Alcaraz will next face Daniil Medvedev.
Jannik Sinner leads the green group with two wins following his victory over Novak Djokovic on Tuesday. The top two finishers in each four-man group advance to the semis.
In a first career meeting, it was a tight first set until Alcaraz broke for a 6-5 lead. Then Rublev was left fuming when the opening point of the next game had to be replayed after his shot was called wide. The call was overturned on review after it was shown that the shot had landed on the line. In the next game, Rublev bloodied himself.
As the second set wore on, Alcaraz began producing one highlight after another. Like when he hit a forehand cross-court passing shot as he was in the process of falling down. Or when he pulled off a backhand winner down the line from far off court on the run a couple of games later. Alcaraz missed last year’s ATP Finals because of an abdominal injury.
In the night clash, Medvedev saved two set points in the opening set as Zverev was shaky on the big points at the end of both sets. Medvedev, the 2020 champion, improved to 11-7 in his career against Zverev and has now won five of their six meetings this year.