The third time was the charm for Maxime Cressy. In his third ATP Tour final, the American lifted his first trophy on Sunday.
After losing nine of the first 11 games of the Infosys Hall of Fame Open championship clash, the American produced a stunning rally to defeat Alexander Bublik 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) for his maiden tour-level triumph.
Twelve months ago Cressy was outside the world’s Top 150 but with today’s win he will climb to a career-high No. 33 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday. Nobody in the Top 50 has climbed more spots this year than the American.
“It’s an incredible feeling to win my first title, I never thought I would win it this way,” he said. “I played my first ATP tournament here, and it’s always an incredible atmosphere. There were a lot of ups and downs today but I’m very proud of myself for fighting through it.”
Photo Credit: Ben Solomon/International Tennis Hall of Fame
With plenty of opportunity to pick up points during the US summer swing, the 25-year-old is all but certain to be seeded at the US Open after his title run.
“That was my first goal, to be seeded at the US Open, so I’m glad it’s already accomplished. It’s incredibly special to see the success coming and that the hard work is paying off. It’s the most fulfilling feeling and I’m really looking forward to more.”
It looked for the first hour of the match that Cressy would move to 0-3 in finals this season. But instead of panicking against the third seed, the former UCLA Bruin maintained his resolve and battled back to triumph after two hours and 23 minutes.
Cressy’s aggressive, free-flowing game faltered early. He entered the match having lost just one service game in the tournament, but dropped his first service game of the match by missing a high, awkward backhand volley.
Bublik took full advantage, serving big and playing quickly to seize the momentum. With a 6-2, 3-0 lead, the Kazakhstani was on the verge of earning his second tour-level title after triumphing in Montpellier earlier this season.
But Cressy, who throughout his breakthrough season has touted the importance of his mental game, proved his strength in that area in front of the Newport crowd. His serve became more effective and his net game more solid. At the same time, two-time Newport finalist Bublik’s level slightly dropped and Cressy took full advantage.
The American won six consecutive games to flip the momentum and storm into the final set. A finalist earlier this year at ATP 250 events in Melbourne and Eastbourne, Cressy earned a big opportunity on Bublik’s serve at 3-2, when he earned three break points. On one of those opportunities, the former college standout had an easy backhand volley with most of the court open, but missed into the net.
Bublik urged himself on and was able to stabilise his level. That did not deter the home favourite, who also steadied after taking a fall on Bublik’s serve before the tie-break, calling the trainer over concerns that he had injured his knee.
Cressy played from ahead for most of the tie-break, with one key backhand volley on the full stretch proving critical. The Rhode Island fans cheered “Let’s go Cressy! Let’s go Cressy!” as the players switched sides with the American leading 4/2.
The fourth seed finished the job and the crowd roared enthusiastically in support of the American.
“It was a very scary moment,” Cressy said of the fall, “although I was thinking more about losing the match than the knee itself.
“I was debating whether I should take a medical time-out but the physio didn’t seem to think it was serious and he advised me to keep going. I listened to him and focussed on the next point.
“I believe the fall made me more relaxed. It calmed down the nerves. Maybe it was destiny that I fell and then got off to a solid start in the tie-break.”
Did You Know?
In a duel between the third (Cressy) and fourth-placed (Bublik) players on the 2022 aces list, Cressy hit 14 aces and Bublik struck 10 aces.