The first title of the year on the ATP Tour will be contested between the 21-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, 23, when they meet in the final of the Antalaya Open on Wednesday after successfully battling through their respective semi-finals.
I had to reset and go back to my game plan and my strengths after I lost the second set. I won some tough rallies in the third set and that helped me out for sure Alex de Minaur
De Minaur will be hoping to add the title to the three he has already won (the last being in 2019) while Bublik is going for his first.
To make the final, both had to survive gruelling three setters with De Minaur, seeded 4, taking out the second seeded David Goffin 6-4 3-6 6-2 in an hour and 51-minutes and, after two hours and 5-minutes, Bublik, seeded eight, brought to an end the unseeded Jeremy Chardy’s run, 6-4 6-7(4) 6-3 in what was the Frenchman’s third consecutive three setter of the week.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I’d be under pressure when serving,” De Minaur said following his win. “I had to reset and go back to my game plan and my strengths after I lost the second set. I won some tough rallies in the third set and that helped me out for sure.”
Looking ahead to the title match De Minaur added: “Alex can beat any player on any given day and he has lots of firepower so I will need to rest and prepare well ahead of the final.”
In his victory over the Belgian – the second time the Aussie has beaten him in as many meetings – saw him gain the advantage in the first few games which was enough for him to pocket the opening set dropping just three points on his serve.
Goffin picked up his game in the second set where another single break late in the second set, helped him level the match and with the momentum having swung his way, looked set to claim his allotted place in the title round.
With a final at stake, De Minaur, ranked 23, responded immediately in the decider sweeping into a 3-1 lead over the title favourite and despite all of the world No.16’s efforts, held on to claim a place in the final.
“I didn’t start really well and I didn’t serve well at the beginning,” Goffin admitted. “From 0-2 down, I didn’t lose my serve until 1-2 in the third set. It was much better, and I was playing well — more offensive. There were long points in the third set and it turned his way. I am pleased to have played four matches this week. I was nervous at the start of the tournament, so it’s very positive and my attitude has been good.”
ublik, who took command of his semi early, pocketing the opening set and taking a 4-2 lead when he suffered an ankle injury allowing Chardy to recover and level on the tiebreak.
But the Kazakh regrouped in the decider to keep his hopes alive and on course for his first title, fending off six break points and gaining the advantage in the eighth game and serving at 5-3, clinched the remaining final place.
After the match, Bublik admitted: “I got injured in the middle of the match and considered pulling out, but I said myself, ‘Okay, I will give it a try.’ I then served unbelievably, the best since Chengdu 2019. I served almost every serve full power and I was lucky to win the match.”