Alexander Bublik defeats Andrey Rublev to win first grass title

Alexander Bublik battled his way past third-seeded Andrey Rublev 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 thanks to two service breaks to win the Halle Open title, his first on grass just over a week before the start of Wimbledon.

It was his second tour title after his win in Montpellier in 2022. Bublik had won eight of 27 matches all year before this week.

"It really means the world to me," Bublik said. "I've been struggling for half a year. ... I don't take it for granted. It was hard work."

Bublik, 26 and ranked 48th in the world, shot out of the blocks Sunday and snatched a break on Rublev's first service game to move 2-0 up.

With his booming serve proving impenetrable, Bublik quickly bagged the first set. He played a risky style through the match that paid off with 42 winners -- Rublev had 23 -- along with 21 aces.

Rublev, playing in his second Halle final in three years and looking to add to his Monte Carlo title this season, converted his third break point of the match at 3-2 before holding serve to level the contest.

Bublik recovered and went a break up thanks to a superb backhand crosscourt winner at the start of the third set.

The Kazakh player, who has reached two grass finals in Newport, had a dozen double faults throughout the match but finished the win off in style, firing a second-serve ace on his first match point.

Bublik improved to 2-6 record in tour-level finals and will rise to a career-high 26th in the rankings. Rublev dropped to 13-8 in finals.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.