Alexander Bublik stuns Andrey Rublev to win the title in Halle Open

The inimitable Alexander Bublik delivered a brilliant all-round performance to stun the Russian top-seed Andrey Rublev in the championship match on Sunday. Bublik notched up his first win in four tour-level attempts against World No.7 Rublev, upsetting him 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to win the title at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. Kazakhstan’s Bublik, who had won eight of 27 matches all year before this week, played a risky style that paid off with 42 winners while third-seeded Rublev had 23 along with 21 aces. Bublik’s first title win on grass will boost his confidence as it has come just over a week before the start of Wimbledon.

World No.48 Bublik shot out of the blocks and snatched a break on Rublev’s first service game to move 2-0 up. Rublev, who was playing in his second Halle final in three years, converted his third break point of the match at 3-2 before holding serve to level the encounter. Bublik recovered and went a break-up thanks to a superb backhand crosscourt winner at the start of the deciding set.

The 26-year-old Kazakh player, who has reached two grass finals in Newport, had a dozen double faults throughout the match but finished the win off in style, firing a second-serve ace on his first match point. It’s the second title of Bublik’s career after he won in Montpellier last year. The Kazakh player secured his first win on grass after twice being runner-up in Newport. Bublik improved to a 2-6 record in tour-level finals and will rise to a career-high 26th in the rankings.

On the other hand, the 25-year-old Russian dropped to 13-8 in finals. Rublev is now a two-time Halle runner-up after losing to Ugo Humbert in the 2021 final. Rublev is set to return to Wimbledon next month after missing last year’s edition of the grass-court Grand Slam event when Russian and Belarusian players were barred following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It really means the world to me, said Bublik during the presentation ceremony. I’ve been struggling for half a year and now have this as a reward. I don’t take it for granted. It was hard work. I was walking through the little hall of fame here before entering the court for the very first time against Struff, and I was like wow, the different names, a lot of guys I’m familiar with, he added. But I could not even imagine that I would win this tournament, and I’m really, really happy, Bublik concluded.