Bublik Fights Off Slow Start For Felix Win In Hamburg

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Alexander Bublik is making the most of his second chance at the Hamburg European Open. The Kazakhstani lucky loser, who lost to Tommy Paul in the final round of qualifying, knocked out Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2 in 78 minutes on Wednesday for a place in the quarter-finals.

“When you step on a clay court, which is not my favourite surface, and play someone as great as Felix, you have a little pressure,” said Bublik, in an on-court interview. “Felix got off to a fast start, so I am happy to have found my rhythm and get through.”

The 23-year-old, who reached the Open 13 Provence semi-finals (l. to Tsitsipas) in February, will next meet Cristian Garin at the AM Rothenbaum. Garin became the first player to reach the quarter-finals earlier in the day with a 6-2, 7-6(3) victory over wild card Yannick Hanfmann, who knocked out Gael Monfils in the first round.

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Having trailed 0-3, Bublik recovered to 3-3 and broke Auger-Aliassime for a 5-4 advantage, prior to saving four break points when serving for the 42-minute set. Bublik fired a barrage of deep and powerful forehands to clinch the opener.

From 3-4 down in the first set, Bublik won five straight games for a 2-0 lead in the second set. Bublik’s service consistency did the damage as the match wore on, while Auger-Aliassime struggled — double faulting to hand Bublik a 5-2 lead. The World No. 56 closed out his 12th victory of the season after Auger-Aliassime struck a forehand wide.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Andrey Rublev earned his 22nd match win of 2020 with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Paul in one hour and 37 minutes. Rublev, who won 33 of his 40 service points, now faces fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut or Dominik Koepfer.

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