NEWPORT, UNITED STATES (AFP) – American Maxime Cressy won his first career ATP title on Sunday by rallying to defeat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in the Hall of Fame Open final.
French-born Cressy, who competed for his homeland until becoming an American in 2018, reached his first two ATP finals earlier this year, losing to Rafael Nadal at Melbourne in January and Taylor Fritz at Eastbourne last month.
But the third time proved charmed as Cressy outlasted Bublik at the grass-court event to win after two hours and 23 minutes, firing 14 aces against 13 double faults and hoisting the trophy after falling behind by a set and a break.
“It’s an incredible feeling to win my first title,” Cressy said. “I never thought I would win my first title this way. I stuck with it and I got lucky.
“I look forward to more titles. It’s a very special feeling.”
Bublik, who won his first ATP crown in February at Montpellier, failed to become the first Kazak player to own multiple ATP titles.
“I’m very upset with the outcome but I’d like to congratulate Max on his first title,” Bublik said. “He had great luck.”
Russian-born Bublik, who began playing for Kazakhstan in 2016, lost his first four ATP finals – the first of those at Newport in 2019 to American John Isner – before his breakthrough title in France.
World number 42 Bublik and 41st-ranked Cressy, both 25, met for the first time in Sunday’s final.
In the tie-breaker, Cressy took the lead for good on 2-1 when Bublik double faulted. Cressy followed with a backhand winner and took the last three points for the victory.
Bublik took a 2-0 lead after Cressy surrendered a break on an errant backhand and broke again with a backhand winner in the final game to capture the first set in 37 minutes.
Another Bublik backhand winner broke Cressy in the second game of the second set on the way to a 3-0 lead, but the American swept the next six games, breaking for the third time in a row when Bublik netted a backhand to surrender the set.
Cressy won a seventh consecutive game to open the final set and Bublik saved three break points in the sixth game before holding to 3-3 as they stayed on serve into the decisive tie-breaker.