Alcaraz, Bublik Win Pre-Wimbledon Grass – Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Bublik emerged victorious on Sunday in separate grasscourt tournaments in the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively. It was their first Association of Tennis Professionals titles on grass surfaces and placed them as prominent contenders for the third Grand Slam event of the year – the Wimbledon Championships. Alcaraz’s title conquest in Queen’s also moved him back to World No1, supplanting 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic. On the other hand, Bublik’s victory in Halle was a surprise for online sports oddsmakers who placed most of their bets on the tournament favorites in anticipation of gaining bigger income on this strategy.
Alcaraz Beats De Minaur to win Queen’s Club Title, Regains World No1 Ranking
Alcaraz and Bublik Win – The 20-year-old Alcaraz defeated Australian Alex De Minaur, 6-4 6-4, in the final of the Queen’s Club Championships to claim his first ATP title on grass and reclaimed the World No1 ranking from Djokovic. The Queen’s Club victory was the fifth title of the year for the reigning United States Open champion and 11th overall. The win also placed Alcaraz as a serious contender to the Serbian’s quest for his eighth Wimbledon title. He seeks to redeem himself from a so-so performance last year at Wimbledon, where he reached the fourth round and lost to Jannik Sinner.
It was the third tournament for the Spaniard on the surface and winning his first grasscourt title was not that easy as he needed to save two break points in the eighth game of the first set, broke in the next game and served out for the set. In the second set, Alcaraz won the only break point of the set after De Minaur double-faulted on his serve. He gained the title on his first match point when the Australian’s return was called outside. On his way to the Queen’s Club final, Alcaraz defeated lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech, Jiri Lehecka, Bulgarian qualifier Grigor Dimitrov and Sebastian Korda. On the other hand, seventh-ranked De Minaur dispatched Andy Murray, Diego Schwartzman, Adrian Mannarino and second seed Holger Rune to gain a spot in the final.
Bublik Edges Rublev to Claim Halle Title
Kazakh tennis star Bublik earned the biggest title of his career after conquering past third seed Andrey Rublev, 6-3 3-6 6-3, in the final of the Halle Open. The 48th-ranked Bublik took the first set when he broke Rublev’s opening service game. Rublev tied the match by winning the second set in similar fashion as the first. However, the determined Bublik did not allow his Russian foe to take full advantage of the final, as he raced to a 3-0 lead and never looked back to secure the championship. The Kazakh defeated Borna Coric, Jan-Lennard Struff, Jannik Sinner and Alexander Zverev to book a final showdown with Rublev, who beat Wu Yibing, Yannick Hanfmann, Tallon Griekspoor and Roberto Bautista Agut in the tournament to secure a ticket in the winner-take-all clash.
Bublik notched 42 winners in the final, thoroughly outclassing Rublev, who could only muster 23 winners. It was the second time the World No7 lost in the Halle Open final in three years. He lost the 2021 final to Ugo Humbert of France. Bublik’s win also meant that Rublev’s quest for a ATP 500 grasscourt title continues. He won five titles in clay and hard courts.
Kvitova, Ostapenko Sizzle in Germany, UK
Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko took home titles in Germany and the United Kingdom, respectively, to boost their chances of winning the Wimbledon Championships women’s singles title. Kvitova defeated Donna Vekic, 6-2 7-6(8-6) in the final of the Berlin Women’s Tennis Association grasscourt tournament on Sunday. Kvitova, who won twice in Wimbledon, captured her sixth grasscourt trophy and 31st overall. The Czech netter surged to the lead in the first set, winning two break points. In the second set, the finalists traded breaks before the 33-year-old Kvitova won via tiebreak. The World No9 won all sets en route to winning the title, putting her as one of the tennis betting experts’ favorites to gain another Wimbledon crown.
Meanwhile, Ostapenko triumphed in a battle of former French Open winners as she outclassed Barbora Krejcikova, 7-6(10-8) 6-4, in the final of the Birmingham Open. The Latvian 2017 French Open champion claimed her first title of the season, as she took control of the match by winning the marathon tiebreak via a forehand winner. In the second set, Ostapenko surged to a 5-1 advantage but Krejcikova stormed back into contention, winning the next three games to cut the deficit to 4-5. However, the Czech’s last-ditch attack failed as Ostapenko held serve to take home the title. It was the only straight-set victory of the Latvian in the tournament as she went through the first four matches in three grueling sets. The victory allowed Ostapenko to become one of the top tennis players to watch in the coming Grand Slam event – the Wimbledon Championships.