Westphalia: Alexander Bublik  possesses a pair of soft hands and one of the fastest serves on the tour. With these two attributes, a player can realistically aspire to achieve significant results on grass. Everything fell into place this week for the talented Russian, representing Kazakhstan, as he defeated four former or current ~Top 10 players. This marks the biggest title in the history of Kazakhstani tennis. However, thirteen years ago, Andrey Golubev also triumphed in a German event of the same level, held in Hamburg on clay. Golubev had to win six matches compared to Bublik’s five, but Bublik faced much tougher opposition in Halle. In the ultimate game, he committed three double faults within six points, but he didn’t let it affect his serving and fired a 220 kph second-serve ace on championship point. “It really means the world to me,” said Bublik. “I’ve been struggling for half a year and now having this a reward, I don’t take it for granted. It was hard work.” Andrey Rublev avenges that defeat in the Wimbledon ’23 fourth round after a dramatic five-setter. Another native Russian speaker with the name “Alexander“, who doesn’t represent Russia, is Zverev. He has dealt with his fair share of challenges. The German struggled after his comeback from a serious injury but managed to reach the semifinals in his last three events. As a result, he has climbed back to around the Top 20. During the French Open, dropping outside the Top 50 was a significant concern for him, but he won his third-round match under quite fortunate circumstances.
England (London): Carlos Alcaraz claimed his first title on grass. In his opening match, he was just three points away from a straight-sets defeat but managed to survive, improving his 3rd set (deciding) tie-break record to 7-0. He displayed impressive tennis in the subsequent rounds, leaving his opponents with no chance. “I want to look up to the best players on grass and their movement. On grass, Roger and Andy are the best players who move exceptionally well. I want to be the same, like them,” he said. I expected him to win Wimbledon already last year, and I will be surprised if he doesn’t capture a few Wimbledon titles in this decade…. Matteo Berrettini, the Wimbledon ’21 runner-up and back-to-back grass court title winner last year (Stuttgart, Queen’s Club), is currently facing a major crisis. He suffered a swift defeat in his first-round match in Stuttgart and subsequently withdrew from the title defense in London. Dark clouds also loom over Maxime Cressy. As the only serve-and-volleyer in the Top 100 (although I’d say “pseudo S/V” because he has achieved a few notable results mainly due to the chaos he creates by serving his second serves at the speed of his first serves), he has now lost 11 matches in a row, including 11 consecutive sets.
First week of Wimbledon ’93: Only half of the possible number of seeded players managed to advance through the qualifying event, with none of the top 10 seeds making it. Among those who qualified were Patrick Rafter  and Greg Rusedski , who would face each other in the US Open final four years later. Due to bad weather, the third round was played as a “best of three” instead of “best of five” format. The official Wimbledon record for aces at the time was 37, set by Goran Ivanišević a year earlier in the final. However, during the first round of the qualifying event in ’93, a left-handed, blonde long-haired South African, Gary Muller, fired 54 aces (!) as he defeated Peter Lundgren 4-6, 7-6, 20-18. To this day, it remains an unofficial record for the most aces served in a three-set match. The official record for the most aces in a match is held by Ivo Karlović: 45 aces in Halle 2015 as he won his match 7-5, 6-7, 6-3.
Halle (ATP 500; grass semi-outdoors)
🇰🇿Alexander Bublik d. (3)🇷🇺Andrey Rublev 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Queens Club (ATP 500; grass outdoors)
(1)🇪🇸Carlos Alcaraz d. (7)🇦🇺Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-4
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