Tennis Rublev beats Fritz to reach Madrid Open final faces Auger Aliassime for title

Tennis Rublev beats Fritz to reach Madrid Open final

Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev beat American Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-3 on Friday to reach his first Madrid Open final where he will face Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The Canadian advanced after the Czech Republic's Jiri Lehecka pulled out injured midway through the first set of their semi-final.

Rublev, the highest seed left in the tournament at the semi-final stage, survived an early wobble to see off the 12th seed, and was all smiles after his straight-sets win, and will now be favourite to claim his second title of the year.

Fritz broke serve in the opening game, with the Russian showing early signs of frustration, but Rublev composed himself to break back immediately and ended the set winning two games to love to take the opener.

The second set went with serve until Rublev broke to lead 4-2 and it ended in a similar vein to the first, this time the Russian winning his final two service games to love, closing the gap in their head-to-head record, with four wins and five losses.

Rublev came into the tournament on a four-match losing streak, but has eased into the final, knocking out second seed Carlos Alcaraz on the way, and will face unseeded Canadian Auger-Aliassime for the title on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Canadian progressed past Lehecka in the other semi-final on Friday after the Czech 30th seed was forced to retire injured with a suspected back injury.

Lehecka asked for a medical timeout with the first set locked at 3-3 and attempted to continue the match after returning onto the court, until he went down in the following game. Visibly in pain, he was unable to carry on.

Lehecka joined an unfortunate list of players who were forced to pull out from the Madrid tournament, with world number four Daniil Medvedev ending his match against Lehecka early on Thursday as he withdrew with a groin issue after the first set.

For Auger-Aliassime, who became the first Canadian to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final on clay, it was the third time in five matches that he has benefited from a withdrawal or walkover.

Jakub Mensik retired from their last 32 clash early into the second set before Jannik Sinner pulled out before their quarter-final due to a hip injury.

"It's crazy. I don't know if it's ever happened to a player before. It's a weird situation to be in," Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview.

"I couldn't believe what was happening when I saw his back failed him and blocked on him. I feel really bad for him... We can all imagine what it feels like to come out on a night like this hoping to win and go through.