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31st TERRA WORTMANN OPEN June 15th to 23rd 2024

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Creative Bublik stops Zverev with special strategy

The German crowd's favourite loses in two sets

Alexander Zverev hasn’t made it into the final of the 30th TERRA WORTMANN OPEN. He was stopped by an ingenious Alexander Bublik with 3:6, 5:7.

One thing quickly became clear: this Alexander Bublik went into the game with a clear concept. And he followed it through mercilessly and sometimes brilliantly. Rhythm from the baseline? Not at all - Alexander Zverev almost never had that. Slice after slice flew over the net and the incessant drop shots hurt even more. If the German reached one from his position far behind the baseline, he promptly had to chase the following lob. In addition, the Kazakh's serves were hard and precise. In Bublik's first service games, Zverev hardly won a point.

The Kazakh broke for 3:1. Then came a moment of shock. The call for a paramedic echoed from the upper tier. A spectator there was in health problems. The match was interrupted for a few minutes. When the medical emergency was under control, the match continued. Whoever thought that Alexander Bublik would be irritated by this, saw himself deceived. A little later, the world number 48 served for the set. The crowd favourite from Hamburg fought off the first set point, but then it was 6:3.

Germany's best tennis player kept looking helplessly at his brother and father in the box. What could he do against this outstanding opponent? At the beginning of the second set, he managed to stabilise his own service games. Otherwise, he could only wait and see. When would Bublik, about whom the only predictable thing is unpredictability, start to let up? At 3:2 for Zverev, the Kazak made a mistake and the first break point came for the favourite. And what did Bublik do? He played a drop shot, of course, and scored. Held his serve and had break point himself shortly afterwards.

Sascha Zverev was close tob e eliminated. But his next forehand passing shot just touched the line and 11,000 spectators cheered. Break point rejected. One volley later, Bublik had break point again. Zverev was called for a time violation because he took too long to serve. He argued with the referee, but won the rally and the game.

At 5:5, Bublik again gave his opponent a creative lead: 0:40 - three break chances. Again the combination forehand drop shot and passing ball and it was done. Break for the 26-year-old from Gatchem. Alexander Bublik served once more for 6:3, 7:5 and after 87 minutes he had reached the final of the TERRA WORTMANN OPEN for the first time. For Alexander Zverev, on the other hand, the dream of a third final in Halle is over.

Bublik did not want to talk about a special strategy after the match. "Drop shots are part of my style of play, I always use them," he said. But then he admitted that they are particularly effective against players like Sascha Zverev who play far behind the baseline. His opponent had understood the strategy very well: "He went for a winner or a drop shot on every third shot. When he plays like that, I have no answer against him," admitted Zverev: "I spoke with the coaching team, but we all had no answer to his level today. Especially when he's serving at almost 230."

A brilliant Alexander Bublik has reached his first final at the TERRA WORTMANN OPEN. Photo: TERRA WORTMANN OPEN/Mathias Schulz
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Even a tweener could not save Alexander Zverev from his defeat in the semis. Photo: TERRA WORTMANN OPEN/Mathias Schulz