HONG KONG, January 6, 2024 (Press Release)
Andrey Rublev will meet Emil Ruusuvuori in the first ATP Tour tournament final played in Hong Kong since 2002 at the Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open (BOCHKTO) 2024 Sunday at the Victoria Park Tennis Stadium.
As he has done all tournament, rising China star and crowd favourite Shang Juncheng pushed the top seeded players to the limit, claiming the first set of the semifinal, 6-4, to set up a titanic three-set clash before Rublev pulled away down the stretch 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 6, 2024
“I am really happy to play my first final of the season in Hong Kong,” said Rublev, the tournament’s top seed after the match.
“It was a super tough match. He is super talented. Super powerful. He was playing unbelievable, and I was thinking at some moments I have no chance. In one moment I didn’t know what to do; I just keep fighting, just keep trying to stay positive.
“Since the beginning he was leading the match. I was more afraid, like what to do. We were playing three minutes and I was losing with a break, he was playing unreal. I was just trying to say something positive to put less negative thoughts in my head and somehow I was able to turn around the match and win it.
“In the end, I was able to make a break, I won the second set, and then the third set we were equal until the last game,” said Rublev, who along with Shang is one of two clear crowd favourites in Hong Kong this week.
True to form, following the semifinal Rublev met the fans in the Tournament Village and conducted an autograph signing session.
Rublev will now rekindle an exciting head to head competition with the 24-year old Finn Ruusuvuori. Rublev leads the series 2-1 with their last meeting at the 2023 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati a titanic battle won by Ruusuvuori, 7-6(10), 5-7, 7-6(3).
“Emil is playing unreal this week,” said Rublev.
“We are good friends and he is a super nice guy. All the matches we have played each other were super dramatic, so we will see. I wish him all the best for tomorrow and hopefully we will have a great match that the spectators will enjoy.”
Earlier, Ruusuvuori won the baseline battle against Austria’s Sebastian Ofner, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, to advance to his second ATP Tour final, and his first since 2022.
The 24 year old’s path to the final went through Benjamin Bonzi in the first round, and then past tournament second seed and World No. 15 Karen Khachanov in the second, before a straight sets win over Pavel Kotov put him into semifinals.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 6, 2024
“Full crowd; a very, very tough match and a very good win and now into the final. That is why we play tennis, so I’m just gonna go and enjoy that one,” said Ruusuvuori.
“I just hang tight and tried to be a little bit tougher on every single point. Just tried to make it as tough as possible for him. Get the serves back. He serves big and super super aggressive, a constant fight and I was able to come through,” Ruusuvuori said of Ofner.
“It’s another close match tomorrow. Andrey we don’t have to say much because we know how good of a player he is, let’s see what happens tonight and we go from there,” Ruusuvuori concluded.
Shang bid a fond farewell to Hong Kong saying, “I am very happy with my performance this week. I played a very disciplined week. Andrey is a top 5 player, and has been in the top 10 for I don’t know how long, it was a pleasure sharing the court with him, and I gave it 100%.
“I’ve enjoyed playing here. Great fans. This is probably the most important tournament I have played in my life, starting the year very strong. Looking back this is always going to be the special one and hopefully I can make more memories,” he added.
El Salvador’s Marcelo Arevalo and Croatia’s Mate Pavic booked their spot in Sunday’s doubles final against top seeds and Belgian duo, Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, after beating Uruguay’s Ariel Behar and Czech Republic’s Adam Pavlasek 5-7, 6-3, 14-12, in the second semifinal.