Can you imagine eating in a different restaurant every night with a variety of meal choices to fit your mood?
Well, fourth seed Andrey Rublev doesn’t have to dream about that kind of lifestyle. The 16-year-old lives it every day when he’s at home in Moscow.
As it turns out, Rublev’s father — Andrey Rublev Sr. — is a former professional boxer turned restaurateur. He owns many different restaurants in Russia’s capital and that’s how the family dines for dinner.
“He has a restaurant business and a lot of restaurants all around Moscow,” RUblev said. “So I’m never eating in my home. We have 13-14 restaurants and all different; Russian, Japanese, Italian, then just cafes. It’s good. My favorite restaurant is the Italian and we have Italian guys who have come to cook the food.”
Despite the access to endless quantities of food, Rublev is a skinny kid, who says he still needs to build up the strength up in his legs.
But he certainly showed good form on Thursday in reaching his first Grand Slam junior semifinal with a 75 36 64 win over doubles partner, Stefan Kozlov, of USA. The two moved on to their doubles match later in the day, taking a 64 61 quarterfinal win over Pedro Martinez Portero and Jaume Antoni Munar Clar of Spain.
After splitting sets, Rublev went ahead 2-0 in the third set and never surrendered that lead in the two hour, 36 minute match against Kozlov.
“It’s pretty tough because we’re friends for a long time,” said Rublev, of playing singles against his doubles partner. “I had to play singles and doubles today, but I won.”
Rublev learned tennis from his mother, Marina Marenko, a teaching pro. As Rublev said, “All my life she was teaching. Like since I was born I had a racket.” But these days he trains in Moscow with Sergei Tarasevich, a former tour player.
Rublev is set to take on second seed Orlando Luz of Brazil in the semifinals. Luz, who won the Grade A Porto Alegre title back home in Brazil earlier in the year, ended the hopes of ninth seed Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France 75 57 64 in their quarterfinal match.
In another quarterfinal, fifth seed Quentin Halys of France defeated Korean qualifier Seong-Chan Hong 75 64. Halys’ victory puts him into his second straight Grand Slam semifinal having reached that round in Australia in January.
The 17-year-old Halys says he knows little about his semifinal opponent, Jaume Antoni Munar, who earned his semifinal spot with a quick 61 62 win over 14th seed Marcelo Zormann of Brazil.
“I play really good so I’m happy to win in two sets,” Halys said. “I’ve never seen him (Munar Clar) play. I know he’s Spanish, so naturally I think it’s going to be a tough match tomorrow.”
In contrast to Rublev and Halys, girls’ semifinalist Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic is a 14-year-old with far less experience.
This Roland Garros is Vondrousova’s junior Grand Slam debut, and on Thursday her 63 46 63 win over fellow unseeded player, Rebecca Sramkova of Slovakia, put a huge smile on the young teens’ face.
“It’s so good,” said Vondrousova, who speaks limited English. “I just wanted to win the first match.
Her coach, Zdenek Kubik, believes she’s doing well this week because there’s little expectations on her at the event.
“I think she’s very talented,” he said. “The goal was just to get into the Grand Slams. When she made it through the first round she can relax, she had no pressure.”
In the quarterfinals, she raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set. In the second set, Vondrousova led 4-2 but lost the final four games to allow Sramkova to even the score to one set apiece.
Both players were nervous in the final set, and the first five service games saw service breaks, leaving Vondrousova 3-2 ahead with a service break. She also broke serve in the final game to surprisingly find herself into the semifinals.
Vondrousova will next face eighth seed Daya Kasatkina of Russia for a chance to reach the final. Kasatkina won a 67 60 64 victory over 16th seed Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus.
In the other semifinal, top seed Ivana Jorovic of Serbia will take on 10th seed Francoise Abanda of Canada. Jorovic defeated 11th seed Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 62 62 in one quarterfinal. Abanda outlasted the unseeded Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain 57 75 63 in the remaining quarterfinal.