World No 6 Russian Andrey Rublev edged Denmark’s Holger Rune after saving two match points in a five-set thriller 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9) to book a place in his seventh Grand Slam quarterfinal here on Monday.
The 25-year-old will face either Novak Djokovic or Alex De Minaur in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“I never in my life was able to win matches like this,” Rublev said after the win. “This is the first time that I won something like this, especially in a very special tournament, the Australian Open, to be in the quarterfinals. So, it’s something I will remember for sure all my life. I have no words; I am shaking and happy.”
Rune was struggling physically as he saved two break points in its first game, but after a visit from the trainer, he managed to find a second wind and steal the set but only after failing to serve it out at 5-3.
The Dane was at his best early in set five, combining big hitting with athletic defending, ultimately converting on his fourth break chance of the set to lead 3-1. But once again, he could not serve out the set as Rublev won 12 of 13 points to roar back from 2-5.
Rublev fought back from 2-5 in the fifth set, saved two match points on serve at 5-6, then found himself in a 0/5 hole in the decisive tie-break. On his third match point, he clinched victory when a net cord dribbled over the net.