The best season of Alexander Bublik’s career continues to get better.
The Kazakhstani battled past 11th seed Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 after two hours and 20 minutes on Tuesday to reach the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open. The 23-year-old will next play seventh seed Diego Schwartzman or 2021 breakthrough star Aslan Karatsev for a spot in the quarter-finals in his tournament debut.
Bublik now has a career-high 18 wins in 2021 just more than four months into the season. The 23-year-old was the more consistent player inside Stadium 3, taking advantage of Shapovalov’s 40 unforced errors to take a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead against the Canadian, who hit 14 double faults.
“I started on the same level as the other day, so it’s not so much of my game not working. It’s more mental,” Shapovalov said. “Throwing in five doubles in one game, it’s not like I don’t know how to serve. It’s completely mental.”
Bublik Second-Serve Return Placement
Graphic courtesy of Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media
Bublik had never previously won an ATP Masters 1000 match outside of Miami. But now he has two impressive wins under his belt against in-form Hungarian Marton Fucsovics and Shapovalov.
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In other action, Albert Ramos-Vinolas maintained his high level with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory against Taylor Fritz. Just two days ago, the Spaniard lifted his third ATP Tour trophy in Estoril, but he managed to quickly adjust to the Madrid altitude to move on after two hours and 29 minutes.
Ramos-Vinolas will next play Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis, who eliminated 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in Monday’s final match of the evening. Delbonis leads their ATP Head2Head series 4-2.
The 33-year-old Ramos-Vinolas leads the ATP Tour with 17 tour-level wins on clay this year, and Delbonis is second with 10.
Did You Know?
With his win against Shapovalov, Bublik is now 9-0 against left-handers.