‘Lucky shot’ helps Rublev to Wimbledon quarters

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LONDON — Andrey Rublev ran to his right, sized up the distance to the ball and then did the incredible.

Diving through the air while hoping against hope, Rublev pulled off the shot of the Wimbledon tournament Sunday by somehow swiping the ball back over the net for a forehand winner from behind the baseline — a winner that set up match point and a spot in the quarterfinals.

“Probably it was the most lucky shot ever. It just was luck,” Rublev said on court after reaching the second week at the All England Club for the first time. “I don’t think I can do it one more time.”

Rublev ended up beating Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-4, taking the fifth set after failing to convert two match points earlier in the match.

The seventh-seeded Russian became the ninth active male player to reach the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams. But he has never gone further at any of them.

To reach the semifinals at Wimbledon, Rublev may have to face seven-time champion Novak Djokovic. The 23-time Grand Slam champion was scheduled to play Hubert Hurkacz later Sunday on Centre Court.

This year is only the second time play is officially scheduled for the middle Sunday at Wimbledon. Four times in the past, in 1991, 1997, 2004 and 2016, organizers used the day to deal with a backlog of matches.

Eighth-seeded Jannik Sinner and unseeded Roman Safiullin also reached the quarterfinals on Day 7. Sinner defeated Daniel Elahi Galan 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3, and Safiullin beat 26th-seeded Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

After the match, Shapovalov said a knee injury he initially suffered in October flared up during the match.

“After today it’s a little bit difficult. Pretty big setback,” Shapovalov said. “Towards the end of the match I couldn’t even walk let alone play.

“That’s probably the worst that it’s been in a long time. I need to talk with the team. I need to try to see some more specialists and see what I can do.”

Shapovalov said it would probably take him at least two months to treat the injury assuming he doesn’t need surgery.

Earlier in the day, 21st-seeded Grigor Dimitrov became the last man to reach the fourth round. He beat Frances Tiafoe 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in a match that started Saturday. He will next face sixth-seeded Holger Rune.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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