Alexander Bublik advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final on Friday, recovering from a slow start to defeat home favourite Tennys Sandgren at the Hall of Fame Open 0-6, 6-3, 6-0. But one thing you won’t find him doing in Newport, Rhode Island, is checking out how high he’ll climb in the ATP Rankings because of his efforts, and how high he can soar if he continues his career-best run.
“This was my problem when I was a kid. I was counting the points. Even if I didn’t win the match, before the match I started counting points, how much I’d earn,” Bublik told ATPTour.com. “This was my problem. I deleted all the apps, the live scoring, rankings. Especially when there’s a deadline week and I needed to make something and I’d be like ‘Yes, I need to do it,’ I’d choke 0 and 1.”
In September 2017, the Kazakh broke into the Top 100 for the first time, spending four weeks there. But early in 2018, at the BNP Paribas Open, Bublik broke his ankle during qualifying, halting his momentum and forcing him to miss nearly two months of competition.
Bublik dropped to as low as World No. 253 last November. But ever since, the 22-year-old has been on the ascent. And even though he won’t be looking into it, the six-time ATP Challenger Tour champion is projected to crack the Top 75 for the first time on Monday regardless of what happens the rest of the week.
“I entered two years ago for the first time, then I fell down. I have the level to play the guys here,” Bublik said. “This year I entered in April and I’ve stayed, so I hope to stay here a while. Maybe for all my career, hopefully.”
Bublik’s first big splash came in 2016, when as a 19-year-old he qualified in Moscow and advanced to the quarter-finals. He then accomplished the same feat at the same event the following year.
“When I was a kid I got in mental troubles a lot because I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to win this match. I want to win this tournament’,” Bublik said. “Then last year when I broke my ankle is when I realised it’s fine... I’ve got to work hard to make it here, to make more and more, so that’s why I’m working hard every day trying to succeed.”
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