Barcelona Open 2021: Andrey Rublev vs Jannik Sinner, Preview, Head-to-Head and Prediction

Published 04/22/2021, 11:57 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 17, 2021 Russia’s Andrey Rublev reacts during his semi final match against Norway’s Casper Ruud REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


The clay-court season has arrived in Barcelona for the ATP Barcelona Open 2021. This year’s draw puts some of the veterans against the young gems of the ATP Tour. Monte Carlo Masters 2021 runner-up and World No.7 Andrey Rublev will face teenage sensation, Jannik Sinner in the early stage of the event.

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Barcelona Open 2021: Andrey Rublev vs Jannik Sinner, Preview

Last week, Andrey Rublev reached the finals of Monte Carlo Masters 2021 but lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas. Even though he lost, the tournament saw him beat Rafael Nadal for the time in his career. Nadal was convincingly beaten by Rublev in a clay-court tournament where he is an 11-time champ.

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Andrey Rublev reacts during his quarter final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The rest of the 2021 season has been brilliant for Rublev. He still has reached at least the quarterfinals of every tournament he has played in 2021. He won the Rotterdam Open and next on his list is finally getting an ATP Masters 1000 title to continue his upward curve.

Jannik Sinner has also gone from strength to strength. He started the season with the title triumph in Adelaide. But then he had a slump where he lost in the first round of Australian Open 2021 and Open Sud de France. But then he turned it around by reaching the final of the Miami Open. The Italian would have been gutted to have lost the final.

Sinner’s clay-court started off in Monte Carlo. In Monaco, he had the daunting task of beating World No.1 Novak Djokovic. The Italian teenager went down in two sets. His Barcelona Open campaign is headlined by his dominant victory against Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round.

Jannik Sinner of Italy celebrates after match point against Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan (not pictured) in a men’s singles quarterfinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Head-to-Head

As Rublev and Sinner have had relatively young careers, their head-to-head record is short. Rublev leads the head-to-head 1-0. Their only meeting happened last year in Vienna. Sinner had retired within three games of the match to give Rublev the victory.

Barcelona Open 2021: Andrey Rublev vs Jannik Sinner, Prediction

Looking over at Sinner, he is still maturing as a tennis player. He is promising, but he still has cracks to fix. The Italian has often been too eager and desperate for points. Thus against Djokovic, he started off great but soon ran out of steam.

For Rublev to beat Sinner, he will just have to stay in rallies and play smartly. Sinner’s strokes can be broken if he is put in tight spots and in longer rallies.

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The Monte Carlo Masters demonstrated Rublev’s strengths and weaknesses. Against Nadal, the Russian quickly broke the Spaniard’s backhand. Furthermore, Rublev’s forehand is his offensive side. If he is made too comfortable on his forehand side, then he will easily take control of the match.

Thus to beat Rublev, first Sinner would need to take control early on. Tsitsipas in the Monte Carlo final forced Rublev to go defensive on his forehand side. Sinner might not be equipped right now to trouble Rublev. With experience, the Italian might outfox Rublev later in his career, but in Barcelona, it looks like Rublev will pick up the win.

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Prediction: Andrey Rublev to win in straight sets

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Bhavishya Mittal

975 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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