Alexander Bublik came into Newport with just three ATP Tour-level main draw wins this season, but that didn’t stop him from reaching his first ATP final on Saturday after prevailing over Marcel Granollers, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4 on a blistering day.
Next, he will square off against home favorite and three-time Hall of Fame Open champion John Isner, who rallied from a set down to move past Ugo Humbert, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3.
The 22-year-old Russian, who was ranked outside the Top 200 eight months ago, is projected to jump into the Top 75 for this first time on Monday.
“I entered [the Top 100] two years ago for the first time, then I fell down. I have the level to play the guys here,” Bublik said. “This year I entered in April and I’ve stayed, so I hope to stay here a while. Maybe for all my career, hopefully.”
Ben Solomon/International Tennis Hall of Fame
On the heels of his first-ever quarterfinal win, Bublik was easily cruising, 4-0, in the first set before his unorthodox brand of tennis caught up with him. He soon dropped the next five games but was able to close out the set in the tiebreak despite coming off the rails.
The Spaniard secured two breaks in the second set to even the match but like he’s done in his previous three matches, the Kazakh raised his level in the deciding set to notch the milestone victory.