Maxime CressyThe breakout season of 2022 continued on Saturday at Infosys Hall of Fame Openedwhere the American reached his third final of the year with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory against four-time champion Newport John Isner.
The fourth seed ended Isner’s 10-match tournament winning streak with a strong performance on serve and consistent baseline play that helped him overcome several match exchanges. Cressy escaped 15/40 as he served for his place in the final, producing a stunning pick-up volley to save the first break point before sealing the match with a serve and volley.
“John just completely equalized on serve starting in the second set,” Cressy said in her on-court interview. “Just hitting lines and hitting a lot more aces. I had to focus on what I could control, my serve. He definitely played at a big level from the second set on.
“Opportunities came and I happily took one of them. I apologized to him, but I think I created my own luck by staying patient.”
That luck came late in the third set, when Cressy secured the decisive break under bizarre circumstances. After fiercely clawing back a break chance, Cressy lobbed a desperation shot just over the net on the ad-out. But the ball bounced back to his side of the net, so Isner was unable to play the ball from an awkward position.
Cressy dominated the opening set, Isner was seen by the tournament physiotherapist for an apparent calf problem. But after dropping serve twice in the opener, Isner reeled off both serves and a return in the second set to force a decider.
The younger American was back in control in the final set as Isner started to err from the baseline under a lot of pressure from Cressa’s deep returns. After saving two break points at 1-2 in the decider, Isner was unable to escape later in the set.
Cressy finished with 22 aces to her opponent’s 13 and won 86 percent (32./37) of her first-serve points in the hour and 51-minute contest.
With the win, Cressy advanced to the third tournament-level final of his career, all three this season. He is aiming for his first title after coming up short in Melbourne Rafael Nadal and at Eastbourne against Taylor Fritz.
The American has moved up 81 places in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since the end of the 2022 season, the biggest rise among players in the top 50. Currently, Cressy is at a career-high No. 41 all the way up to 34th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and could be in contention for the title in Newport to move up to 32nd place.
“Not so much on the court – it was more mental to get the confidence to compete on the ATP.” [events]”Fitness and confidence have been key for me and I’ve been able to build that over the last two months, so I’m incredibly happy.”
Now 2-0 against Isner this season after his five-set victory on the court Australian OpenCressy will face the third seed Alexander Bublík in Sunday’s final. Kazach defeated Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-2 later on Saturday to reach his second title match in Newport.
“It’s not an easy task to face me in Newport,” the 24-year-old said after cooling off the red-hot Australian who had upset the top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round after reaching the fourth round on Wimbledon as a qualifier. “I played well. I wish him the best… he had his streak, maybe I’ll have mine.”
Buiblik was in command from the start, breaking early in both sets as he cruised to victory without facing a break point. Using a deft touch and some well-timed drop shots to complement her powerful groundstrokes, the world No. 42 improved to 9-4 on grass this season and 9-2 in Newport.
He will be aiming for the second title at tournament level of his career against Cressy after lifting his first trophy in Montpellier in February. The following victory against Jack Sock, Andy Murray and Kubler this week, Bublík will face a new challenge in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Cressy.
“It’s not easy to prepare for him, but that’s what tennis is about: adjustments,” he said. “I’ll try to make some adjustments to my game and see how it goes tomorrow.”