Alexander Bublik celebrates winning the second ATP title of his career

Halle Westfalen (Germany) (AFP) - Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik defeated third seed Andrey Rublev in three sets to win the biggest title of his career at the Halle Open on Sunday.

Bublik won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the final of the traditional Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Germany.

The Kazakh took the first set after breaking Rublev in his opening service game.

Rublev responded by winning the second set in similar fashion but Bublik raced 3-0 ahead in the decider before clinching his second ATP title.

“This means the world to me, I’ve been struggling for a year and a half now. It was hard work,” he said of his 95-minute triumph.

The 48th-ranked Bublik faced a difficult path to the final, making his way past Borna Coric, Jan-Lennard Struff and Jannik Sinner, before downing home favourite Alexander Zverev in the last four.

“I was walking through the little hall of fame here before entering the court for the very first time,” recounted the 26-year-old.

“I was like ‘wow, the different names, a lot of guys I’m familiar with.

“But I could not even imagine I would win this tournament. I’m really, really happy.”

Bublik chalked up 42 winners on the way to victory, compared with Rublev’s tally of 23.

World number seven Rublev finished runner-up in Halle for the second time in three years having lost the 2021 final to France’s Ugo Humbert.

Bublik’s win means Rublev’s bid to become the first player in history to win an ATP 500 title on all three surfaces continues.

The Russian previously won on the clay in Hamburg and the hard courts of Vienna, Dubai, Rotterdam and St Petersburg.