Cressy Garners First ATP Tour Title At Newport

Maxime Cressy (photo: International Tennis Hall of Fame Open)

NEWPORT, R.I./WASHINGTON, July 18, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Maxime Cressy won his first ATP Tour title in his third tour-level final Sunday afternoon. Indeed, this third time proved to be the lucky charm for the likable, bearded 25-year-old, who was cheered on to victory by fans shouting out “Let’s go Cressy! Let’s go Cressy!”

After dropping nine of the first 11 games to No. 3 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan, the 6-foot-6-inch French-born American from Hermosa Beach, Calif. recovered nicely to win the ATP 250 Infosys Hall of Fame Open grass-court title match, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), in two hours and 23 minutes. The final set alone lasted 67 minutes and ended abruptly on Bublik’s seventh double fault.

Down a set and trailing 3-0 in the second, the fourth-seeded Cressy flipped the match by winning six straight games to level the final. Then, he went on to win in a third-set tie-break over Bublik after he injured his left knee stumbling to the ground while trying to make a return. Cressy took an injury timeout before the final point of the third set. He went on to dominate Bublik in the tie-break.

It was the third time this season that Cressy had come back to win after losing the first set.

What Cressy wasn’t able to achieve in two earlier finals this season – at Melbourne against Rafael Nadal in January and last month at Eastbourne against Taylor Fritz – he accomplished against Bublik in Newport. By the end of the afternoon, Cressy won the battle of big servers. He finished with 14 aces to 10 for Bublik, but also committed 13 double faults. Both players broke the other’s serve three times and Cressy edged Bublik in total points 96-93.

For a set, it looked like the 42nd-ranked Bublik would become a two-time Tour titlist this season after winning his first crown at Montpellier in February. The No. 41 Cressy began by getting only 42 percent of his first serves in during the the opener. However, the former UCLA collegiate star never seemed to get too rattled by Bublik or his antics. In the end, it was his aggressive serve-and-volley play – plus a strong mental game – that proved a difference maker. Cressy earned the biggest paycheck of his young career – $90,495, – and added 250 valuable rankings points in winning the tournament, the only one played on grass courts in North America.

A year ago, Cressy was ranked outside the Top 150 while splitting his time between the ATP Tour and the Challenger circuit to get match experience and improve his ranking. Now, after securing his first tour-level singles title, Cressy will rise to a career-high No. 33 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday. He’s enjoyed the biggest climb of any player in the Top 50 this year.

“It’s an incredible feeling win my first title,” Cressy said during the trophy ceremony. “I never thought I would win it this way. 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.”

“Well, there’s not much to say,” Bublik said after accepting his runner-up trophy. The loss dropped him to 1-5 in ATP Tour finals. “I’m very upset with the outcome and want to congratulate Max on his first title.”

Blumberg and Johnson upset top seeds to win doubles title

William Blumberg and Steve Johnson won their first doubles title as a team at the Infosys Hall of Fame Open Sunday. The No. 4 seeds from the United States upset top seeds Marcelo Melo of Brazil and Raven Klaasen of South Africa, 6-4, 7-5, in an hour and 22 minutes to win.

“It’s a great event to win. It’s fun to win here at the Hall of Fame, and I’ve got one of each here,” said Johnson, who won the 2018 Hall of Fame Open singles title. “I’m pretty happy about it.

“I’ve wanted to play with Will [before], and it just hasn’t worked out in the past. This year it worked out. It’s a good run, 4-0, and we’ll try and keep it going.”

En route to the title, Blumberg and Johnson were pushed to only one match tie-break, in their first-round win over Jason Kubler and Jordan Thompson of Australia. Afterward, they won three consecutive straight-set matches.

“I’ve said it all week, he’s an amazing guy, and out there he helps me a lot,” said Blumberg, who won the 2021 Hall of Fame Open doubles title teamed with Jack Sock. “He calms me down. He knew in the last game I would be a little nervous, and he just slows me down. It’s given me the confidence in those big moments. He said, ‘If it’s open just hit it.’ He’s an amazing player and I really could not have done it without him.”

The title was the second for both Blumberg and Johnson, who was appearing in his eighth doubles final and won for the first time since teaming with Sam Querrey to win Geneva in 2016.

By the numbers

Maxime Cressy became the 13th active American player to win an ATP Tour title. He joins John Isner (16), Sam Querrey (10), Steve Johnson (4), Reilly Opelka (4), Jack Sock (4), Taylor Fritz (3), Rajeev Ram (2), Ryan Harrison (1), Sebastian Korda (1), Tommy Paul (1), Tennys Sandgren (1) and Frances Tiafoe (1).

“Quotable …”

After being eliminated in the quarterfinal round on Friday by Alexander Bublik, Great Britain’s Andy Murray said he loss in Newport and the one he suffered at Wimbledon to John Isner were “disappointing and frustrating,” but admitted he had his best wins while in Stuttgart.

“The grass-court season as a whole there some good moments, but also some tough ones. So, a bit up and down, but a little bit of progress overall and I’ll try and keep that going through the hard-court summer.”