Bublik takes out Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4 at Rolex Paris Masters
The ATP Tour has landed in Paris-Bercy for the final Masters 1000 event of the season. Fifty-six men will battle on indoor hardcourts for glory and 1000 precious ranking points as some vie to qualify for the season ending championships in Turin.
Alexander “Sasha” Bublik from Kazakhstan and Frances Tiafoe both have three titles winning two each this season. The twenty-five year old American broke into the top-ten for the first time this past June but is currently #14. He’s had an exceptional season winning titles on clay in Houston and grass in Stuttgart.
Bublik without question has underachieved but perhaps at twenty-six is fully committed to reach his potential. On the lawns of Halle this past June, he tore thru an impressive field defeating Borna Coric, Jan Lennard-Struff, Jannik Sinner via retirement, Sascha Zverev and Andrey Rublev in the final.
Last week in Antwerp at the European Open he picked up steam defeating NextGen ATP superstar Arthur Fils in the final in straights. He reached a career high rank of #25 the end of July and is currently #33. Tiafoe led the head to head 2-1, with this their first meeting on indoor hardcourt.
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Bublik opened with an ace out wide and a double fault but with an incredible lob, held to 15 while Tiafoe missed 3/6 first serves and following two forehand errors, dumped serve.
Bublik gifted another double fault but with two more aces, consolidated the break for 3-0 while the American struck his first ace and got on the board when his opponent netted a forehand. Bublik hit a fantastic crosscourt forehand stab volley and with another spectacular lob, held to 30 for 4-1.
Tiafoe opened the sixth with a sweet forehand swing volley and with this second ace, held to 15 for 2-4 while Bublik missed 3/6 first serves but with an ace out wide held to 30 for 5-2. Tiafoe serving to stay in the set with new balls, held to 15 despite missing three consecutive first serves. The 6’5 Kazakh made 3/4 first serves and clinched the set at love with a stunning crosscourt forehand.
Tiafoe served first in the second and held easily to 15 and Bublik with two additional aces returned the favor, holding to 15 to level. Tiafoe continued to misfire off the ground and though he donated his first double fault, held to 30 for 2-1 with his third ace.
Bublik threw in another double fault but with two consecutive aces up the tee, held to 15 to level. The American committed three unforced errors and faced break point and deuce yet managed to hold for 3-2 while Bublik made 4/4 first serves and held at love for 3-3.
Despite a slew of unforced errors, the American kept his nose out front with a crisp forehand drop shot and an ace up the tee while Bublik serving with new balls, struck his tenth ace and fourth double fault and held to 30 for 4-4.
Tiafoe opened the nineth with his second double fault, faced double break point and dropped serve after overcooking an inside-out forehand approach. Bublik opened the tenth with a terrific crosscourt forehand winner and after a little over an hour, secured the game, set and match with an ace out wide.
It was a thoughtful, clinical, and mature performance. Bublik did not need his A-game to subdue the American. He finished with 19 winners and 25 unforced errors. He was dominant from the baseline, at the net and on serve. He hit 11 aces to 5 double faults and won 88% of first and 56% of second serve points and did not face a break point.
Nicolas Jarry from Chile awaits in the second round. The twenty-eight year old has also won two titles this season-both on the dirt-and has achieved a career high rank of #20. This will be their first tour level meeting.