Bublik defeats Shelton 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 advance to the third round in Rome
At the Masters finals 1000 At the clay tournament at Foro Italico in Rome, their first meeting at the tour level was Right vs. Left. Ben Shelton, a young American with a developing left serve, played for Rome for the first time in his burgeoning career. Currently in a high career position #35his best result of the season was a fourth at the Australian Open.
Alexander Bublik two inches taller 6‘5 and five years older at twenty-five, he possesses a type of play that confuses opponents. Not afraid to attack the second serve or throw one of the trick, the Kazakh is dangerous and invariably unpredictable. After reaching a high rank in career #thirty last season, just after his first and so far only title at Montpellier, he is currently ranked #49 with the best performance this season in the semi-final in Marseille (Hurkacz).
Shelton served first and with two aces and an overhead backhand shot, held in love. Bublik done 4/ /6 first serve and with a monster forehand in the middle and a big serve wide, held thirty To the level.
Shelton 28seeded, gave his first double fault, but with a third ace, held 2-1 while Bublik opened the fourth with a double fault, gifted another and faced a deuce and a break point before holding 2-2.
Shelton missed 4/ /6 first serve, meeting with a break point and thrown serve after two consecutive winners of Bublik. Delighted by Kazakhstan’s cheering, he cemented his break 4-2 with a clear winner of a crosscourt forehand volley.
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Shelton regained his focus with a love hug and Bublik served with new balls, returned the favor with a love hug 5-3. Serving to stay in the set, Shelton hit two consecutive aces for a third consecutive love hold, and Bublik kept the steak alive to close the set 6-4 with a loving embrace.
Shelton served first in the second and with four winners, including an ace on the game, held thirty Down 1-0. Bublik maintained an aggressive position on the court, but after missing 5/ /8 first serve let a 40-15 the lead evaporated, he faced a breaking point and dropped the pass as he overcooked the lob.
Shelton hit three winners and consolidated the break 3-0 while Bublik took the board with a handy serve and two winners. The American opened the fifth round with an overhead shot, and with an ace seven and a forehand down the lane, he easily held 15 Down 4-1.
Bublik hit his first ace, but with a terrible backhand and a third double fault, abandoned serve. Shelton, serving in a set with new balls, hit two consecutive winning forehands and secured a set with his eighth ace.
Bublik served first in the deciding match and with two consecutive aces, held 15 Down 1-0 while Shelton hit his 9ace and kept 15 To the level. Bublik done 4/ /4 first serves and easy to hold 15 Down 2-1. Shelton opened his fourth 10ace, but it would be a difficult hold. He missed 6/ /18 the first serve, including a double fault, had six more two-pointers and five break points when his opponent took the forehand.
Bublik did not let these missed opportunities deter him from love 3-2 with two consecutive aces. Shelton opened it 6th with an amazing forehand to the left, but with three unforced faults, including another double fault, dropped serve.
Bublik was pumping but ready, hit two more winners and held on to the third 15 Down 5-2. Shelton faced a match point triple, and although he saved two, he gave up on the third when Bublik hit a forehand down the line.
It was a fast, interesting and extremely even match. Bublik hit two less winners (27/ /29) and scored only three points more (75/ /72). He showed strength and versatility, but it was his defense that impressed him the most. He finished with five aces, three double faults and won 82% of the first i 48% of second serve points. Although unable to invade Shelton’s first serve, he won 48% of return points of the second service and recalculated 3/ /10 breakpoints.
In the third round, he will face the two-time Grand Slam finalist and world #4 Kacper Ruud. Despite winning the gravel title this spring in Estoril, the Swede is struggling and Bublik should try to capitalize on his opponent’s lack of confidence.