France’s Ugo Humbert pulled off an upset win over fourth seed Andrey Rublev Sunday to claim the biggest title of his career in the final of the Halle grass-court tournament.
Humbert, ranked 31 in the world, earned a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over world number seven Russia’s Rublev in one hour, 24 minutes.
Having won two ATP 250 titles in his career, this was the first tournament win at 500 level for the 22-year-old, who has won all three finals he has reached on the tour.
After breaking Rublev to go 5-3 up in the opening set, in which he powered down five aces, Humbert converted his fourth set point in a hard fought game.
Rublev made precious few mistakes in the second set until losing his serve at 5-4 in the tie-break, when Humbert held his serve to convert his first match point.
Humbert had already thrown down a marker earlier in the week in Halle when he knocked out French Open semi-finalist Alexander Zverev in the second round.
Rublev had been the last remaining seed in the draw from the quarter-finals onwards after top players like Roger Federer and world number two Daniil Medvedev crashed out in the early rounds.
Berrettini emulates Becker in winning Queen’s crown
Top seed Matteo Berrettini became the first debutant since Boris Becker in 1985 to win the Queen’s tournament, beating Briton Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Italian may have dropped his first set of the week but his booming serve held up with 19 aces bombarding Norrie as he secured his fifth ATP title.
Becker went on to win his first Wimbledon title aged just 17 weeks later but Berrettini, 25, was happy solely to focus on Sunday’s victory.
“This is the nicest trophy for sure with all due respect to the others I have won,” said Berrettini, who won 45 successive service games after being broken twice in the first round.
“It has been an unbelievable week if I think about his (Becker) name and my name on the same board it is crazy.
“I dreamed about playing in this tournament as I watched it as a kid.”
Berrettini, ranked ninth in the world and one of 10 Italians in the top 100, paid tribute to his opponent.
“He is a great player. We had never played each other before but he he showed this year he can play on all surfaces.
“Today I am happy for myself for sure (he grinned).
“In the rallies Norrie is dangerous so it was important to have my service in order.
“These courts are really nice and easy to adapt to even if the weather was English for the last days of the week.”
Berrettini – the first Italian to win the title – said his entourage might force him to enjoy a restrained celebration.
“Probably room service and sparkling water,” he said.
‘Pushing for more’
Norrie will rise to 34 in the world rankings and took defeat in a sporting spirit.
“All credit to Matteo, he was too good today and better on the big points. You are having a great career keep it up,” he said.
“If you had told me before the tournament I would be in the final I would have been surprised.
“It has been a very special week. I am a little bit disappointed I did not get the title today but we will keep pushing for more.”
The Italian looked comfortably in control after taking the first set with just the one break at 2-2 when Norrie double-faulted.
However, the Briton looked a different player once he saved two break points at 4-4 in the second set.
The 25-year-old South Africa-born Norrie tried to draw Berrettini into longer rallies – when he was able to return the Italian’s booming 140mph (225km/h) serves – as he generally came out best in them.
His resilience paid off as in the tie break he got a mini-break to go 2-0 up and held on to it winning 7-5 when Berrettini sent a forehand long.
Norrie’s fallibility with his serve returned midway through the deciding set as he had to save two break points when 3-2 down.
However, disaster struck when he was 40-0 up on his serve at 4-3 down but a double fault and good stroke play from Berrettini proved decisive.
The Italian made no mistake in serving out the match sealing the title with his first match point.
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