Comeback King! Bublik battles past Coric for Montpellier crown

Kazakhstani rallied from a set down in all four of his matches at ATP 250
February 04, 2024
Alexander Bublik in action against Borna Coric on Sunday at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. By ATP Staff

Alexander Bublik completed a week of comeback victories to clinch a hard-earned title Sunday at the Open Sud de France – Montpellier.

The second-seeded Kazakhstani rallied past Borna Coric 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 to recapture the trophy he previously won in 2022 at the indoor hard-court ATP 250. With his two-hour, 18-minute victory, Bublik became the first player in history to win an ATP Tour event having lost the first set in each of his matches.

“I was on the verge of losing in my opening round, now here I am standing with the title,” said Bublik in his on-court interview. “Thank you to the crowd for supporting me throughout the week.

“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.”

Bublik had made a fast start to his second Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with the fourth-seeded Coric. He opened up an early 4-1 lead before his initially frustrated opponent raised his level to win six of the next seven games and move ahead.

As he had all week in Montpellier, however, Bublik rose to the challenge of falling behind. He maintained excellent rhythm behind his serve and threw in plenty of drop shots to keep Coric moving around the court. Despite facing four break points in the deciding set, Bublik held firm to maintain his unbeaten record against the Croatian.

The 26-year-old Bublik finished the match having won 80 per cent (44/55) of points behind his first serve, while his tally of 19 aces was also crucial to relieving the pressure in his service games.

Bublik has now won four ATP Tour titles, and his latest title run will also ensure he will rise four spots to a new career-high of No. 23 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.

“Obviously I‘m very sad about the final,” reflected Coric, who is now 3-6 in tour-level finals. “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.”

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