Dubai Tennis: Dream debut for Ugo Humbert as Frenchman wins singles title

Humbert won the Dubai title in his first appearance at the award-winning tournament


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Ugo Humbert celebrates with the trophy. — Photos by Neeraj Murali
Ugo Humbert celebrates with the trophy. — Photos by Neeraj Murali

Published: Sun 3 Mar 2024, 10:36 AM

Ugo Humbert has an uncanny knack of winning finals. The Frenchman went into Saturday’s final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on the back of a perfect record, having won all five of his ATP tournament finals.

The 25-year-old, who reached the Dubai final after stunning wins over third seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarters, saving three match points to beat the tall Polish player before and outclassing top seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev in semis, was in cruise control in the title decider against Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

Humbert had all the bases covered with his impressive all-round game, negating the threat from Bublik, a talented player capable of producing astounding shots, as the Frenchman won the final 6-4 6-3.

Two breaks of serves in each set were enough for Humbert to clinch the title at a packed house.

The first set was on serve until the ninth game, but Humbert converted the first break point to gain the momentum.

The initiatives in the second set were quickly grabbed by Humbert who broke the Russia-born Bublik for a 3-1 advantage and never let the momentum slip.

Bublik did try to unsettle Humbert with some unorthodox tactics, standing inside the court on second serves.

But Humbert held his nerve every time as he saved two break points in the match, including one in the final game of the second set when he was serving for the match.

When Bublik failed to return his forehand on the match point, Humbert dropped to his knees as he raised his arms to celebrate a memorable triumph on Dubai debut.

Ugo Humbert hits a backhand return during the final on Saturday. — Photo by Neeraj Murali
Ugo Humbert hits a backhand return during the final on Saturday. — Photo by Neeraj Murali

“I played at a fantastic level during the week, today was not easy, he is a great player, huge respect for him,” Humbert said.

The French player remained modest when asked about his perfect record in tournament finals.

“I really don’t know. I have a very good team around me. It’s a really good statistic, but I think it’s because I really have a good team around me. So a big thanks to my team. It’s been a wonderful week,” he said.

Bublik, on the other hand, said he can’t wait to return next year.

“This week means everything for me. I am really happy to be staying here. It’s been a great pleasure, I can’t wait to come back here in 2025,” he said.

“My team, my wife, thank you for being here. Honestly, before the final, I thought if I win, I would dedicate this title to my son, so sorry, maybe next time.”

Earlier, Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany and Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands won the men's doubles title.

Struff and Griekspoor overcame the challenge of Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Austin Krajicek of the US 6-4 4-6 10/6 in the final to claim their first Dubai doubles title.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, was delighted with the success of the 2024 edition of the the iconic event.

Humbert lifts the trophy. — Supplied photo
Humbert lifts the trophy. — Supplied photo

“We thank all the tournament officials and officials from the ATP. We have completed 32 years of the men’s tournament and 24 years for the ladies. Last week we had more than 40,000 people attending the ladies event and it looks like for the men’s event, we had between 45,000-46,000 people. So thank you very much for attending,” McLoughlin said.

Italy’s Jasmine Paolini won the women’s singles title last week, beating Russian Anna Kalinskaya 4-6 7-5 7-5 in the final.

Kalinskaya became the first qualifier to reach the Dubai final.


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