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Hubi Hurkacz is Shanghai High

Hubi Hurkacz is Shanghai High
October 15, 2023
It's a seventh ATP singles title for Hurkacz, and a second at this level. The No.16 seed from Poland claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami in 2021.

Showing the steely mindset that complements his huge serve and groundstrokes, Hurkacz saved a championship point before completing his 6-3 3-6 7-6(8) victory.

It's the second time in Shanghai history that a champion has saved a match point in the final. Novak Djokovic was the other man to do so, saving five against Andy Murray in the 2012 final.

Hurkacz noted the high emotion of the match. "We're just battling, you know, we both had some chances," he commented. "It was just so exciting. (I'm) super pumped at the end to battle and win that last point."

Becoming the sixth player to lift the magnificent trophy, Hurkacz was pleased to compete before Roger Federer, a two-time champion of the tournament.

"There's so many champions won it in the past and so many amazing players," smiled Hurkacz, with his one regret that he forgot to thank the Swiss star during the trophy presentation.

"Hopefully, he won't take it personally but it's definitely fun to play in front of him."

As he joined a list of illustrious champions in Shanghai, Hurkacz underlined his composure in ATP finals - of the eight he's contested throughout his career, the Pole has lost only one.

Managing the challenge presented by the fifth-seeded Russian provided another big step forward in Hurkacz's career.

Rublev held a perfect record entering Sunday's final, having progressed through the tournament without the loss of a set. His biggest test was in the semifinals against Grigor Dimitrov, who challenged the No.5 seed in a tense first-set tiebreak.

Hurkacz, by contrast, had been pushed the full three-set distance against Zhang Zhizhen and Fabian Maroszan, before asserting his authority in a straight-sets win over Sebastian Korda in the semifinal.

Entering the final with a tournament-high 77 aces, Hurkacz fired up his serving weapon early, claiming a break of serve in the sixth game and going on to secure the 32-minute first set.

Showing similar power, if not quite the same precision, Rublev started extending the rallies, taking a 2-0 second-set lead that he maintained to level the match.

Serving first in the decider, Hurkacz was able to pressure at key moments. He held a first championship point as the Russian served at 4-5, which Rublev saved with a big serve.

Another one passed by in the tense third-set tiebreak, Hurkacz saving one of his own with his 20th ace of the match.

On his fourth match point, he finally converted to claim his biggest title this year. He finished with 21 aces (taking his tournament tally to 98) among 44 winners and just seven unforced errors.

"(I was) just trying to tell myself what to do during the points, where to play and, you know, to stay committed and to trust my shots and just fight and just battle," said Hurkacz of the tense end to the match.

A disappointed Rublev noted the difficulties in managing the Pole's tremendous power.

"I know that he is a super great player and it's so tough to beat him, and I knew this since the beginning," said the Russian. "With him, you can easily lose only the way he serves. As we could see today, he was serving unreal. The way he shoots sometimes from baseline, full power, (it's) so tough to do something."

Having won a monumental battle for one of his biggest titles, Hurkacz further won over the Chinese crowd. Following the match, he carefully inscribed the television camera lens with the characters representing "XieXie" (thank you)

"I just wanted to give thanks for just amazing support that I had throughout the whole week, whole almost two weeks here and, yeah, to thank the Chinese fans," he smiled.
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