Humbert Beats Rublev For Halle Title

The Frenchman holds a 3-0 record in ATP Tour finals.

Frenchman Ugo Humbert overcame Andrey Rublev 6-3, 7-6(4) on Sunday to claim his first ATP 500 title at the NOVENTI OPEN title in Halle.

The World No. 31 is now 3-0 in ATP Tour finals. The Frenchman also lifted trophies at the European Open in Antwerp and the ASB Classic in Auckland, both ATP 250 events, last year.

“It is incredible. It is the best victory of my career,” Humbert said. “I am very proud because it wasn’t easy. I was a little bit tired, but I tried to stay focused on each point, and did what I could, so it is very nice.

“I tried to stay aggressive and take the ball early because in the baseline rallies it was tough, because Andrey was hitting the ball very hard. Physically, it was tough, and I tried to take my chances when I could, and I won.”

Humbert won 85 per cent (45/53) of points on his first serve and hit nine aces to claim victory in 87 minutes. The lefty is now level at 1-1 in his ATP Head2Head series with Rublev.

After an even start to the contest, Humbert made the crucial breakthrough in the eighth game of the opening set as the 22-year-old started to dictate with his aggressive forehand. Humbert, who hit five aces in the first set, continued to serve well, as he fended off two break points to close out the set.

Both players looked to stay on top of the baseline in the second set as the match continued on serve, with neither man facing a break point as it moved to a tie-break. Humbert held his nerve, closing the net at every opportunity to record the victory.

“It has been a really great week for me, with my first grass final,” Rublev said. “It was not easy in the beginning. Everything was so fast, just one or two shots. At 3-4 I hit three second serves in a row and he returned twice deep and with the new balls it was really tough.

“The second set was good for both of us. In the tie-break I had a big chance with the forehand but I missed them, but it happens and I can’t control it. He was serving very well.”

Rublev is now 33-10 on the season and has a 4-2 win record in ATP 500-level finals. Despite the defeat, the Russian will rise to third position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held from 14-21 November at the Pala Alpitour. The 23-year-old is behind only Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas.