Ugo Humbert captured his biggest career title Sunday in Halle topping the favored Andrey Rublev 6-3, 7-6(4). The 22-year-old Humbert is a perfect 3-0 in ATP Finals after his first 500 level and first grass win.
“It is incredible. It is the best victory of my career,” said Humbert who will see his ranking rise into the Top 25. “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.”
In a tight second set, neither player managed a break point. Humbert saved one in the opener, but was paced by a strong serving day finishing with nine aces.
Entering the final, Humbert had to win four 3-set matches posting wins over Alexander Zverev and yesterday edging Felix Auger-Aliassime in a final set breaker.
He was also just 9-13 on the year and hadn’t won three straight matches since his Antwerp title last fall.
Rublev had been Mr. ATP 500 having won 29 of his last 31 at that level. He was seeking a fifth straight 500 title and a 9th overall crown.
“It has been a really great week for me, with my first grass final,” said Rublev who lost just five points on first serve. “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 had won seven straight finals but has now lost his last two both in straight sets to players younger than him in Monte Carlo (Stefanos Tsitsipas) and now Halle.
Humbert will now play Mallorca while Rublev will head to Wimbledon.
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