Teen Sensation Mensik Stuns Top Seed Rublev To Reach Doha Semis


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Chinthana Wasala | The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: Rising star Jakub Mensik yesterday proved his stunning win over former No.1 Andy Murray was no fluke as the 18-year-old shocked top seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets to storm into the semi-finals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

Ranked 94th in the ATP Live Rankings, Mensik defeated the World No. 5 Rublev 6-4, 7-6(6) to mark his first win over a Top 5 opponent, also becoming the youngest player to do so since Carlos Alcaraz at the 2021 US Open.

“It's just been an incredible week,” Mensik, who arrived in Doha ranked outside the top 100 (116) said after his third win in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

“From the beginning, I played very well and I knew I could play with the big players. It's an amazing feeling to reach the semi-finals after beating those good players,” Mensik said.

“But the job is not done yet. Hopefully, I can play like this again in the semis and go on to make the final,” Mensik, who will next face another former champion in Doha, Frenchman Gael Monfils a place in tomorrow's title clash.


France's Gael Monfils hits a return against compatriot Ugo Humbert during their quarter-final yesterday. AFP

In the tense tie-break, Rublev who was aiming to win the title in Doha for the second time, having lifted the trophy in 2020, hit a mid-court forehand after a powerful first serve to go down a mini break at 6/7 as Mensik took full advantage, boldly closing out the match on the next point.

The ATP Next Gen star dropped down to the blue court in delight after his biggest career win which was closed in one hour and 38 minutes.

Since arriving in Doha, Mensik has now jumped 22 spots in the ATP Live Rankings to a career-high 94th spot after making back-to-back headlines at the prestigious event.

The Czech reached yesterday's quarter-final after overcoming three-time Grand Slam winner Murray in the longest match of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open's history (three hours and 23 minutes). Mensik's impressive recent performances also include a notable win over Denis Shapovalov at the Australian Open and a strong show against Hubert Hurkacz, pushing the World No.8 to five sets.

“It's been a good choice to play the Arabian swing,” Mensik said.

“I'm so happy with the matches I got last week and this week. It's incredible for young players to have the opportunity to play these tournaments,” Mensik added.

Meanwhile, Mensik's next opponent Monfils defeated third seed Ugo Humbert 6-2, 6-4 in an all-French quarter-final.

The victory also made the 37-year-old Monfils the oldest semi-finalist in the tournament's history. Yesterday's win was also Monfils' seventh straight win in Doha, having lifted the Falcon Trophy in his previous appearance in 2018.

Australia's Alexei Popyrin will face Russian second seed Karen Khachanov in the second semi-final today.

Australia's Popyrin advanced to his third tour-level semi-final after defeating fourth seed Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-4, while Khachanov reached the last four after Finn Emil Ruusuvuori was forced to retire when trailing 0-3 in the first set due to an injury.

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