MARSEILLE, France — Second-seeded Andrey Rublev beat No. 3 Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 7-6 (4) to win the Open 13 tournament, clinching his ninth career title and first for almost a year.
Since winning in Rotterdam in March last year, Rublev had lost three finals. He improved to 5-0 in indoor finals and 9-5 overall, while Auger-Aliassime dropped to 1-9 in finals.
The 21-year-old Canadian arrived in southern France in top form after beating Rublev in the semifinals and then upsetting top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2 in the Rotterdam final last Sunday.
It was his first title after losing his previous eight finals.
He led 2-0 in the first set against Rublev and squandered a set point in the 12th game of the second set.
“All the battles I have had with Felix since the first time back in 2018 have had drama,” the 24-year-old Rublev said. “All have had at least one set that went 7-6 and now he is one of the greatest players. Especially this season, he is on top now.”
Auger-Aliassime led the serving contest 12-9 in aces but Rublev showed again why he is considered one of the best returners and retrievers on the tour.
He played the shot of the match in the fifth game of the first set, returning a smash close to his body and turning it into a two-handed backhand winner.
“I had to increase my level otherwise I would have had no chance against Felix,” Rublev said. “I was thinking it would go to three sets. But somehow I was able to raise my level and in the end it was tough.”