Rublev, a three-time quarter-finalist at the US Open, started the match on a strong note by winning the first two sets of the match 6-4, 6-3. Monfils, who celebrates his 37th birthday on Friday, fought back to win the third set 6-3 and get the New York crowd excited about the prospect of a comeback. However, Rublev was able to bounce back from the loss of that third set and easily won the fourth set 6-1 to complete the victory in two hours and 20 minutes.
The Russian was the far steadier player of the two, hitting 31 winners and 32 unforced errors while Monfils hit 32 winners but combined it with 47 unforced errors. The Frenchman’s cause was not helped by 13 doubles faults.
Both players will be in Group B action at UTS Frankfurt later this month but before that Rublev will have to take care of some more business at Flushing Meadows. The world
The world No 8 meets Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in the third round on Saturday and then has a potential fourth round encounter against American Michael Mmoh or Great Britain’s Jack Draper.