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Lowest-Seeded Jiri Lehecka Put On a Complete Offensive Display to Upset Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4

Lowest-Seeded Jiri Lehecka Put On a Complete Offensive Display to Upset Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4

Exactly two months after winning his first senior ATP tour in Adelaide, Jiri Lehecka made another statement in the Indian Wells Masters. For context, Jiri Lehecka, the lowest-seeded player on the men’s side at 32, won against Russian Andrey Rublev, the number 5 seed, 6-4, 6-4, to reach the last 16 after a dominant display at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Following up on the now-retired Tomáš Berdych, the now Czech number one Jiri Lehecka reenacted his win against Andrey Rublev at Doha last year as he won a massive 93% of his first-serve points, losing just two of those points in the entire match.

Also Read: Rafael Nadal Secures First Win Since Long-Term Injury with a Vintage 7-5 6-1 Display Against Dominic Thiem

 

Jiri Lehecka Exacted Revenge on Andrey Rublev to Level H2H Two to Two

It may seem like fate for Jiri Lehecka and Andrey Rublev, as the pair met in the second round of the Indian Wells Open last year, with the Russian prevailing in straight sets and the Czech only registering six games. Skip forward ahead a year later; it was Jiri Lehecka on the winning end as the Czech struck an impressive 31 winners to just eight unforced errors, even sparking a fiery racket smash from the Russian in the second set.

The straight sets outcome may seem unlikely to some as Jiri Lehecka needed to rally from a set down in the previous round before eventually outlasting Brandon Nakashima 3-6 6-3 6-4. However, the Czech was full throttle from the start today as he immediately broke Rublev’s serve and maintained his frontal attack throughout the first set, not allowing the Russian a sliver of a chance to break back.

The second set proceeded more of the same as the first, with Jiri Lehecka breaking the Russian’s serve in the third game to go 2-1 up and closing out the set without a break point faced. The win marks his 2nd win against the current top five players and ties his H2H record against Rublev, with the pair now even with two wins each. Jiri Lehecka will now face Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the number 11th seed who dispatched Frances Tiafoe in commanding fashion 6-3 6-3. It will be a tough road for the Czech teenager as Tsitsipas won their previous two encounters in straight sets, with their latest match in the 2023 Australian Open.

 

Jiri Lehecka Admitted He Feels More Confident This Time Around

After his statement win, Jiri Lehecka mentioned that he spent much time recalling his loss against Rublev last year. “This was our fourth meeting, so we both kind of knew what we should expect. Last year, I beat him once. But last year here in Indian Wells, I lost easily. So that was something I needed to improve. I was looking back to the match, trying to see what I did wrong. Of course, the thing is that I’m a bit of a different player now.”

The young Czech continued: “I feel more confident, and I think that my game also improved. So I knew that I needed to be the one who would hit hard first, and that worked well for me today. I tried to focus on my service, not give him much freedom. And it worked well. I always believed in myself. And I always knew, even my team knew, that I do really have the game to beat these players. But of course, there was still something missing last year.”

Jiri Lehecka explained: “It was my first full year on Tour in terms of being around 30, being Top 50. For the first time in my life, I played all the big tournaments. So we kind of learned from that. We felt that there were still many things to improve. That was one of the things that we worked on. Being here for the second time is also a big advantage for me compared to my first time playing here. I knew what to expect, so it is much easier for me to prepare for these kinds of matches.”

For Tennis Fans: Nitto ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic Wins Record-Breaking 7th Title After Crushing Jannik Sinner in Straight Sets

 

What Matchups to Look Forward to at the Last 16 of Indian Wells 2024?

The last 16 of Indian Wells 2024 is shaping up for a tournament for the ages. For example, Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz remain in contention for the title. While Djokovic and Medvedev still need to get past their third-round opponents, it is not too premature to consider two of the best hard-court players ever to prevail.

As for confirmed matchups, the contest between Jannik Sinner and Ben Shelton will definitely draw sparks as both players can obliterate the ball from their serve to their shots. The other last 16 tie worth mentioning is the clash between Alexander Zverev and Alex de Minaur, as both players are possibly in the form of their lives, and we could see a winner either way. 

As for Carlos Alcaraz, it will be smooth sailing for the Spaniard if he replicates the performance his favourite club, Real Madrid, did today against Celta Vigo, as he will face Fábián Marozsán for a spot in the quarterfinals. For people like Alcaraz who love tennis and football together, follow https://www.asiasport.com/ for the latest coverage and highlights of your favourite teams and matches in high-definition.

Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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