Maxime Cressy wins his first ATP title on the grass courts of Newport at the Hall of Fame Open

NEWPORT, RI — Fourth-seeded American Maxime Cressy rallied to claim his first career ATP Tour title, beating No. 3 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 2-6, 6-3 , 7-6 (3) Sunday in the Hall of Fame Open.

After knocking out four-time Newport champion John Isner in the semi-finals a day earlier, Cressy, 25, overcame a rocky start that saw him get just 42% of his first serves in the first set. It was his third career ATP Finals.

The tournament – the only one played on grass courts in North America – is held in conjunction with induction ceremonies into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Australian great Lleyton Hewitt, 41, part of the class of 2021, was consecrated on a side court on Saturday evening.

Hewitt was unable to attend last year’s ceremony due to travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No inductees were elected for 2022, the first time in Hall history. It has existed since 1955.

“It’s an incredible feeling to win my first title,” said Cressy, who injured his left knee and had to take an injury timeout before the final point of the third set.

The 6-foot-6 Cressy ran for the sideline, trying to make a comeback when he stumbled on the ground and toppled over. He got to his feet bending his knee, walking a little close to his chair before a coach was called.

During the delay, as Cressy was behind the chair umpire, Bublik, standing on a baseline, shouted, “Stop or keep going. Make a decision.”

There were boos from the crowd who cheered louder and louder as Cressy made his comeback; at one point, intoning a chant of “Allons-y Cressy!”

“He assured me it wasn’t a joint issue or anything. He said I could still play and I trusted him,” Cressy said of the visit. “I accepted and I didn’t think about it at all during the tie-break.”

Bublik, 25, was looking for his second ATP title after capturing Montpellier this year. He was a finalist in 2019 at Newport.

Hall CEO Todd Martin told Bublik on microphone during the on-court post-game ceremony: “Come back. Third time is going to be absolutely a charm.”

Bublik, sitting in his chair, shook his head. It fell to 1-5 in the ATP Finals.

Trailing 3-0 in the second set in glorious sunshine with temperatures in the 70s, Cressy held serve before breaking twice in the next three games.

In the tie-break, there were three breaks on the first three points. Cressy then had an ace to go up 6-3.

On the final point, Bublik, who started the week ranked No. 42 in the world, double faulted, sending his last serve long. Cressy raised both arms in celebration.

“Well, there’s not much to say,” Bublik told the crowd. “I am very upset with the result and want to congratulate Max on his first title.”

Cressy came to Newport ranked 41st.

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