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Rublev, Rune, Draper, Ruud: Final Four confirmed at UTS Grand Final in London

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Bren Gray
London 2023

After 12 entertaining matches over the course of two days at the UTS Grand Final in London, the Final Four have been found for the year-ending tournament.

Andrey “Rublo” Rublev has topped Group A and will play Holger “The Viking” Rune who finished runner up in Group B, while Jack “The Power” Draper came top in Group B and will take on Casper “The Iceman” Ruud in the second semi-final.

In a day that saw dramatic injury withdrawals, Rublev’s winning streak extended and home favourite Draper delighting fans, it was an incredible turnaround by Rune that grabbed attention on day two of the UTS Grand Final.

Here’s a look at how the day’s matches unfolded.

Rune finds form, La Monf given scare

The day began by The Viking taking the court for the second time, after a poor showing by Rune in his opening clash against Draper on day one.

Rune had been swept three quarters to love, describing the format as “weird” and blaming his performance on inconsistent bounces. While he came out in an equally foul mood on day two, his results were much better, with the Dane blasting past Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik in a tense sudden death clash.

Round robin – Group B –

The Viking
Holger Rune

The Viking

Holger Rune

3
15 12 12 15 2
The Bublik Enemy
Alexander Bublik

The Bublik Enemy

Alexander Bublik

2
11 18 19 14 1

The 20-year-old started strong by winning the first quarter 15-11 before conceding the next two quarters to Bublik. A late fight back saw Rune snaffle the fourth 15-14–where he was just millimeters from losing the match–before he clinched the match in sudden death, 2-1.

Next up, home favourite Draper took on veteran Gael “La Monf” Monfils, with the Frenchman taking a tumble and injuring his ankle. Monfils pressed on and made the match somewhat competitive, but at two quarters and 9-3 down, he was forced to pull the pin and withdraw due to injury.

Round robin – Group B –

The Power
Jack Draper

The Power

Jack Draper

3
10 10 10
La Monf
Gaël Monfils

La Monf

Gaël Monfils

0
0 0 0

The Iceman books Final Four spot, Rublo keeps winning

While Monfils was unable to secure his Final Four spot with a win over Draper, Ruud had no such trouble when taking on Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman in the third match of the day. 

The Iceman executed a cool 3-1 quarters win over El Peque, winning 16-10, 7-16, 13-12, 17-8 in what was a clinical performance, with the exception of a blip in the second quarter.

Round robin – Group A –

The Ice Man
Casper Ruud

The Ice Man

Casper Ruud

3
16 7 13 17
El Peque
Diego Schwartzman

El Peque

Diego Schwartzman

1
10 16 12 8

Opening up the night session, Rublo continued to show why he’s the man to beat in London this weekend, thrashing Benoit “The Rebel” Paire 3-0 in an entertaining yet ultimately one-sided clash.

The victory confirms Rublev’s spot at the top of Group A, with the Russian now winning seven matches in a row on the UTS Tour. He also becomes the only player to make multiple Final four appearances in 2023.

Round robin – Group A –

Rublo
Andrey Rublev

Rublo

Andrey Rublev

3
26 16 19
The Rebel
Benoit Paire

The Rebel

Benoit Paire

0
10 13 12

Form continues for Rune while Draper delights

Rounding out the day’s play, Rune continued his form from earlier in the day with an impressive 3-1 quarters win over UTS veteran Monfils.

Bouncing back well from his earlier ankle injury, La Monf showed no signs of the impediment early on in the match, blasting winners from both wins. However, it was the superior composure of The Viking that saw him to victory, with Rune at one stage coming back from 10-1 down to win the second quarter.

Round robin – Group B –

The Viking
Holger Rune

The Viking

Holger Rune

3
17 15 9 16
La Monf
Gaël Monfils

La Monf

Gaël Monfils

1
9 14 19 13

Joining Rune in the winner’s circle was The Power, who had already been confirmed as the number one qualifier from Group B, but still put on a show for home fans against The Bublik Enemy. Draper was tested, but ultimately powered his way past the Kazakh three quarters to one to take some serious momentum into the Final Four tomorrow.

Round robin – Group B –

The Power
Jack Draper

The Power

Jack Draper

3
12 13 13 13
The Bublik Enemy
Alexander Bublik

The Bublik Enemy

Alexander Bublik

1
11 15 12 10

Here’s how the final day of play is shaping up on Sunday, with three knockout matches to be played:

  • 4pm–Semi-Final One (Rublo v The Viking)
  • 5pm–Semi-Final Two (The Power v The Iceman)
  • 6:30pm–Grand Final (TBC)

Can Rublo maintain his hot winning streak, or will the resurgence of Rune be his downfall? What about home favourite Draper, who seems born for the UTS format? All will be revealed on day three of the UTS Grand Final in London.