Alexander Zverev and Alexander Bublik were the last men standing at the ATP 250 event in Montpellier. Zverev entered an indoor event following an early Australian Open loss and set the title clash against another tall player with a booming serve.
Bublik defeated world no. 3 6-4, 6-3 to lift his first ATP title after four straight defeats. World no. 35 took down Tallon Griekspoor in two tie breaks in the opening round and prevailed over Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Roberto Bautista Agut to find himself in the semi-final.
Filip Krajinovic stood no chance against the Kazakh, who faced one of the world’s leading players in the title clash. Bublik was 0-6 against the top-5 rivals before giving his best against Zverev to oust him in 69 minutes and celebrate the trophy.
Bublik toppled Zverev for the second time in as many encounters. He dropped 15 points in nine service games and defended two out of three break chances to keep the pressure on the other side. The German was miles away from that pace, losing 46% of the points behind the initial shot and suffering four break from eight opportunities offered to a lower-ranked rival.
Alexander Bublik claimed his first ATP title in Montpellier over Alexander Zverev.
Zverev held at love in the encounter’s opening game, and Bublik blasted a forehand down the line winner in game two to get his name on the scoreboard.
The German closed the third game at 15, and the Kazakh painted another forehand down the line winner for 2-2 and a reliable start. World no. 3 squandered a game point in the fifth game, and Bublik seized the second break chance with a backhand down the line winner to open a 3-2 gap and gain a boost.
Remaining calm, Zverev broke back at love in game six to lock the result at 3-3 and improve his position before holding at love a few minutes later. Bublik secured the eighth game with an unreturned serve and broke Zverev at 15 in the next one following the German’s basic forehand mistake.
World no. 3 created two break chances in the tenth game that could have kept him in contention. However, it was not to be for him, as Bublik denied both with powerful serves and held with a well-constructed attack to secure the opener 6-4.
Zverev painted a backhand down the line winner in the second set’s opening game. He saved two break points at 1-1 and brought it home to remain competitive. Bublik stayed focused and broke Zverev at love in game five following the German’s mistake at the net.
The Kazakh wrapped up the sixth game with a volley winner and blasted an ace down the T line in the eighth for a 5-3 advantage. With nothing working his way, Zverev experienced a break at love in game nine to push his opponent toward the first ATP trophy and settle with a runner-up prize.