Australian tennis star Alexei Popyrin ends his dream week by reigning supreme over Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik to win the Singapore Tennis Open which also happens to be his first ATP Tour title.
The 21-year old showed nerves of steel as he won the finals from being a set down 4-6, 6-0, 6-2. The young Aussie also showed great heart and his serving prowess to rattle the fourth seed in the finals. He won back to back seven service games to nothing after being 3-5 down in the first set and only dropped six points in the process (46/52).
“It feels unbelievable,” said Popyrin. “A lot of sacrifice, a lot of dedication and a lot of hard work went into this from myself, my team and my whole entire family. I have done it for everybody who was involved. I am just so proud that I could actually get it done.”
It is shocking how Popyrin had only 18 tour-level wins and the 21-year-old had never reached beyond the quarterfinals of any ATP Tour event. So to win it against someone like Alexander Bublik who happened to be the fourth seed while Popyrin was unseeded is a testament to his talent and potential. He is another tennis prodigy coming out from Down Under along with many more youngsters.
Currently ranked at 114 in the Work Ranking, Popyrin will overtake his career-best ranking of 87 after this superb win in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday.
“I knew that if I could get a quick start in the second set, I would probably win the second set with the way I have been serving this week,” said Popyrin. “That third set was a grind. It was really a grind. I started picking up where he was going to serve a lot. I started getting the balls back in play a lot.
“The most important thing was to read his serve and that is what I started to do… At the same time, I tried to play aggressive and that is what I did. It paid off.”
The 21-year-old may have faced a tough outing in the finals as he defeated Bublik but his main test came against former US Open Champion Marin Cilic in the semifinals. Popyrin triumphed over the Croatian in straight sets 7-6(5), 7-6(2) and that was his first win over a seeded opponent this week.
The youngster has shown that he can deal with pressure as he capitalized on all the five breakpoint opportunities that came his way throughout this week.
Popyrin joins an elite group of active Australian tennis players to have won at least a single ATP Tour event. He joins the list which included Nick Kyrgios (6 titles), Alex De Minaur (4titles), Bernard Tomic (4 titles) and John Millman (1 title).