Second seed Alexander Bublik rallied to beat Croatian Borna Coric at the Open Sud de France final on Sunday, becoming the first player to win a title on the tour after dropping the opening set in each of his matches in Montpellier.
Alexander Bublik needed to overcome a singular test this week to become a two-time champion at the ATP 250 tournament on Sunday.
On French soil, the Kazakhstani player recorded four straight comeback triumphs from a set down, eventually prevailing over fourth seed Borna Coric 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 after a two-hour, 18-minute championship match on Sunday.
After the edgy contest, Bublik outlined: “I was on the verge of losing in my opening round, now here I am standing with the title.”
“I’ve seen all these great [former] champions out there, and my face is [among them] in the stadium [because of 2022]. Maybe if I continue playing like this, I will have more of my pictures here, so I’m really happy.”
The four-time ATP titlist made a fast start, opening a solid 4-1 advantage, which Coric would destroy, making the difference with his return game performance, converting two of three break point opportunities he earned on his way to take the first set 7-5 in 57 minutes.
However, the 26-year-old held his nerve, applying pressure on his opponent from the off with his powerful serve, winning 100 percent on his first delivery.
Moreover, he did not face a lone break point through the second set, which he sealed 6-2 in just 35 minutes.
For his part, the World No. 37 fended off two of the four break points he faced but failed to find a way to halt a dominant adversary who went the distance to level up the encounter.
Playing aggressively, Bublik set the tone from the off, converting a clinical break in the second game of the decider, building upon his momentum to extend his lead to 3-0.
Meanwhile, the 2022 Cincinnati Masters champions rose his level, and despite facing break points on his serve, Bublik held onto his advantage to close out 6-3, finishing with 19 aces in his pocket.
The campaign that led the Adelaide International runner-up to win back the Open Sud de France crown featured victories over Canadian Denis Shapovalov, compatriot Alexander Shevchenko, third seed Felix-Auger Aliassime, and Coric.
After competing in his first final this season, Coric, 27, commented: “Obviously, I’m very sad about the final. It was a really good match. I enjoyed it, and it was a great fight.
“I had my chances, but he was serving really big in all the big moments, and he was the better player today.”