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By KEN POWTAK Associated Press
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Fourth-seeded American Maxime Cressy rallied to win his first career ATP Tour title, beating No. 3 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstani 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) on Sunday in the Hall of Fame Open.
After knocking out four-time Newport champ John Isner in the semifinals a day earlier, the 25-year-old Cressy overcame a rough start that saw him only get 42% of his first serves in during the opening set. It was his third career ATP final.
The tourney — the only 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 enshrined on a side court Saturday evening.
Hewitt was unable attend last year’s ceremony due to travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no inductees elected for 2022, the first time in the Hall’s history. It has been around since 1955.
“It’s an incredible feeling winning 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 raced toward the sideline, trying to make a return when he stumbled to the ground and rolled over. He got up flexing his knee, walking near his chair for a bit before a trainer was called out.
During the delay, as Cressy was behind the chair umpire, Bublik, standing at a baseline, yelled: “Stop or continue. Make a decision.”
There were some boos from the crowd that cheered louder and louder as Cressy made his comeback; at one point breaking into a chant of “Let’s go Cressy!”
“He assured me it was not a joint problem or anything like. He said I could still play, and I trusted it,” Cressy said of the visit. “I went along with it and didn’t think about it at all in the tiebreak.”
Bublik, 25, was looking for his second ATP title after capturing Montpellier this year. He was a 2019 runner-up in Newport.
Hall CEO Todd Martin said to Bublik over a microphone during the post-match, on-court ceremony: “Come back. The third time is going to absolutely be a charm.”
Bublik, seated in his chair, shook his head “no.” He fell to 1-5 in ATP finals.
Trailing 3-0 in the second set under bright sunshine with temperatures in the high 70s, Cressy held serve before breaking twice in the next three games.
In the tiebreak, 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 entered the week ranked 42nd in the world, double faulted, sending his final serve long. Cressy raised both arms in celebration.
“Well, there’s not much to say,” Bublik told the crowd. “I’m very upset with the outcome and want to congratulate Max on his first title.”
Cressy came to Newport ranked 41st.