Morning Chronicle - Cressy and Bublik advance to ATP Hall of Fame Open final

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Cressy and Bublik advance to ATP Hall of Fame Open final
Cressy and Bublik advance to ATP Hall of Fame Open final / Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON - AFP/File

Cressy and Bublik advance to ATP Hall of Fame Open final

American Maxime Cressy and Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik advanced to the final of the ATP Hall of Fame Open with victories on Saturday at the grass-court tournament.

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Cressy, chasing his first ATP crown, reached his third final of the year by defeating compatriot John Isner 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 while Bublik, who won his first ATP title in February at Montpellier, eliminated Australia's Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-2.

"I just had to focus on what I could control, my serve," Cressy said. "He definitely played a big level starting in the second set."

Bublik, ranked 42nd, and Cressy, ranked a career-best 41st, will meet for the first time in Sunday's final.

Cressy, a French-born 25-year-old who competed for his homeland until becoming an American in 2018, blasted 22 aces to dispatch four-time Hall of Fame champion Isner.

Russian-born Bublik, who began playing for Kazakhstan in 2016, fired 15 aces. Bublik, 25, lost his first four ATP finals -- the first of those at Newport to Isner in 2019 -- before his breakthrough title five months ago.

Cressy reached his first two ATP career finals this year, losing to Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Summer Set in January and to compatriot Taylor Fritz at Eastbourne last month.

Cressy broke Isner for a second time to claim the first set in 29 minutes, but Isner broke Cressy with a backhand winner to grab a 3-2 edge in the second time and held through to force a third set.

A stunning point delivered Cressy a break for a 5-3 lead. After a forehand winner to get a break chance, Cressy made a service return that barely crossed the net, then spun back up and over the net and out of Isner's reach, giving Cressy a chance to serve for the match.

"The opportunities came and I seized one of them, by luck," Cressy said. "I apologized to him, but I guess I created the luck by staying patient."

Isner had two break chances in the ninth game but Cressy saved both and held to advance after an hour and 51 minutes.

Bublik dropped only three points on his own serve in each set, two of those coming on double faults, and cruised past 102nd-ranked Kubler.

Bublik laughed after a backhand winner off an overhead smash by Kubler on his way to breaking the Aussie at love in the penultimate game and winning after 69 minutes.