WATCH: Alexander Bublik came in as the defending Open Sud de France champion. But he left Montpellier with a loss to Gregoire Barrere—and three broken racquets.


Alexander Bublik won his first ATP singles title at the Open Sud de France in 2022. Call it Montpellier magic.

His return to the site of last year’s triumph ended in contrasting fashion on Wednesday. Call it a Montpellier meltdown.

The defending champion worked so hard to get himself back into his first-round contest with Gregoire Barrere, staving off three match points in a marathon second-set tiebreaker to level the score at 4-6, 7-6 (12). Things looked even more promising when Bublik moved ahead 4-2 in the third set. But he couldn’t protect his lead, and once the two arrived at a decisive breaker, all hell broke loose for the No. 6 seed.

He double-faulted to open it, and Barrere stretched his lead to 3-0 with a well-executed serve +1 and a smash winner. Bublik tossed in a second double fault when netting a serve, then failed to execute an underhand first serve that led to a third double fault off a delivery that was nowhere near landing in the service box.

This was the first of three successive racquets Bublik destroyed Wednesday.

A blocked return into the net put Bublik behind 0-6. His inner volcano erupted, as booing spectators watched Bublik slam his racquet into the court five times.

“The good news is he’s got plenty of other racquets,” said the commentary team on the call.

Well, maybe not. Bublik proceeded to grab a second stick and gave hit four hard whacks. He repeated the action with a third piece of equipment, before finally changing ends to the announcement of a warning for racquet abuse.

On his sixth match point of the day, Barrere shut the door for good to advance, 6-4, 6-7 (12), 7-6 (3). Bublik finished with 19 aces to 14 double faults in falling to 0-7 on the year.