Andrey Rublev lost in the fourth round of the 2023 Italian Open in Rome when he was bested by qualifier Yannick Hanfmann.
Playing against players who came out of qualifying is never easy and the sixth-seeded Russian experienced it at the ATP 1000 event in Rome. Qualifiers usually have more matches behind them and if they make it to the late stages, they are usually even more motivated.
Jan Lennard Struff had one of those runs in Madrid and now his compatriot, Yannick Hanfmann is attempting to do the same thing. On his way to the fourth round, he stunned Taylor Fritz and he met in-form Andrey Rublev on his journey to another sensation.
The two met once before with Rublev winning comfortably in three sets at the Australian Open a couple of years ago. But this time, the German was resistant to the Russian's firing power as he took the first set into a tie-break.
Hanfmann was able to overpower his opponent in the tie-break, winning it 7-5. But Rublev wouldn't go down without a fight. He broke at the start of the second set and maintained that lead throughout the second part of the match, winning the set 6-4 and taking the match into the decider.
But things weren't going for the world no. 6 as he imagined it in the third set. Despite breaking first, he couldn't add another break and he was even broken twice by his opponent, who played some inspired tennis in Rome.
Rublev had one last chance to break back in the ninth game of the third set, but he didn't use that break point and after two hours and 35 minutes, shortly after the eighth-seeded Jannik Sinner was eliminated, also the sixth seed fell, losing 6-7(5), 6-4, 3-6 to Yannick Hanfmann, who will play in the 2023 Italian Open quarterfinals.