For 22-year-old Kazakh Alexander Bublik, 2019 can be seen as a forward stepping season. He finished the year at a career high #48, helped by a run to the finals in Newport and Chengdu. On his way to the Chengdu final, Bublik produced skillful shot-making to edge out an in-form Grigor Dimitrov.
Three Challenger Titles Paved Way for ATP Level Arrival of Alexander Bublik
Sturdy, consistent, and potential-oozing Challenger titles at Budapest, Pau, and Monterrey earned Bublik ATP Tour chances. Victories over Tennys Sandgren and Feliciano Lopez in Monterrey represent the most impressive Challenger triumph. This gave confidence for the Kazakhstani to take into a run of ATP events.
A Grass Courter Emerges from Seemingly Nowhere for Bublik
The emerging Kazakhstani‘s ATP tour level rise started in earnest during the grass season. Barring an excellent qualifying run at Wimbledon in 2017, whereby he earned a rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”first round match against Andy Murray, Bublik didn’t have much of a grass pedigree. He did not maintain a positive win-loss record in 2017 or 2018, despite playing a qualifier or challenger level. 2019’s 8-5 grass court record represents a giant stride forward.
Bublik Gets Better of Tennys Sandgren in Four 2019 Meetings
This progress is particularly borne out in his the run to the final in Newport. Bublik was unpredictable and also cocky, confident and entertaining, at the same time. His standout match came in his fourth meeting of the season against Sandgren. He was on the wrong end of a bagel first set. Having suffered his only loss to Sandgren two tournaments ago on grass, you’d have thought his resolve would implode. Then tweener shots and underhand serves added to the versatile 22 year old’s shot-making and simply flummoxed Sandgren. It earned Bublik a 3-1 head-to-head edge over the American. Bublik matched Isner right until the first set tie-break in the final, but couldn’t muster the belief to nab that first ATP title.
Davis Cup Participation Building up Patriotic Hunger for 2020 Olympics
The proud Kazakh seemed a little lethargic after a long season, in his recent Davis Cup tie against Netherlands. His singles opponent Robin Haase just worked harder overall in the recent three set defeat for Bublik. However, he soon re-grouped to team up with Mikhail Kukushkin to capture the deciding doubles rubber. He flipped his form against Britain, outfoxing Dan Evans before losing out in the deciding doubles rubber.
Bublik will be looking to build on his representation of Kazakhstan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. There he will be looking to add to his country’s current tally of 63 Olympic medals.
Bublik Seeking to Gain First ATP Title in 2020
Having started the year ranked #168, a rise of 114 places by the end of the season represents exceptional progress. There is no doubt 2019 is a great year for the Kazakh; he’ll be disappointed not to have bagged that first title. This is the key to the start of 2020, by March he will hope to have a title. Otherwise pressure will grow and grow, given his versatile ability. Although, if he is still title-less by the grass court season, given this year’s improvement you would definitely expect him to right the wrong.
Alexander Bublik Looking to Surpass 2nd Round at Slam Best
One of the lows of 2019 for Alexander Bublik came in the clay season. A 2-4 record belied the promise he shown gaining 2 titles at ITF level and one Challenger on the surface. One of his two clay wins came at the French Open against Germany’s Rudolf Molleker, before losing to eventual runner-up Dominic Thiem in round 2. This represents Bublik’s best Slam showing so far. He is not a fan of overlong points and this is something that will make him exciting to watch next season and beyond.
Main Photo from Getty.