UTS4 – Group A
Garin beats Bublik – 15-5, 15-13, 16-12
- What happened: El Tanque Cristian Garin beats Alexander Bublik – The Bublik Enemy – 3-0 with a dominant display.
- You will also learn: Garin is now 2-0 after day one, joint top of the group.
- Why you should read this article: El Tanque will meet Diego Schwartzman (also 2-0) on Tuesday to decide who finishes as group winner.
Cristian Garin showed his liking for clay and his love of the UTS format as he outmuscled The Bublik Enemy, Alexander Bublik 3-0 on Monday to record his second straight win in the innovative competition.
The Chilean, who beat Grigor Dimitrov in his first match earlier in the day, barely put a foot won in the opening quarter, held off a resurgent Bublik in the second and eased away in the third to join Diego Schwartzman at the top of the group with two wins out of two.
“I played very solid,” Garin said. “I served much better than I did this morning. Alexander is a very aggressive player, he was serving real first serves, but I returned well.
“In the second quarter I thought he was the better player but I used my UTS card at the right time.”
Garin lands KO blow
One of the newest rules in UTS4 is the KO blow, whereby a quarter is over if one player leads by 10 points or more and Garin duly landed his knockout punch after a flawless first quarter.
Bublik’s drop shots and underarm serves are well known now on the Tour, but perhaps best of all by Garin, who has joined forces with the Kazakh on the doubles court many times.
And his inside knowledge worked a treat as he anticipated the underarm serves and put it away on his way to a comfortable first quarter, taking it 15-5.
— Tennis Majors (@Tennis_Majors) May 24, 2021
UTS card proves the difference for Garin
The second quarter was much closer as Bublik began to find his range, particularly on serve, where he risked double-faulting under the new rules – where only one serve is allowed.
The risks were paying off as Bublik led 13-11 but Garin stayed solid, levelling at 13 when using his winner x 2 card – winning both points as Bublik made mistakes – and with 27 seconds left they were level at 13-13.
But with the pressure on and the clock running down, Bublik went for winners and missed to hand Garin the quarter and leave the Kazakh blaming himself as he chatted to commentators at the sit-down.
Alexander Bublik, who is your biggest enemy?
— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) May 24, 2021
El Tanque pushes home his advantage
Bublik began the third quarter with two massive serves but it couldn’t last, Garin’s greater solidity and more even temperament proving crucial.
Bublik thought he had pulled off a stunning below the net return down the line for a winner at 4-2, but it missed and from then on, Garin put his foot down, moving into a 14-11 lead and then easing to victory as Bublik double-faulted twice.
Garin said UTS4 was already proving to be ideal preparation for Roland-Garros, which begins on Sunday.
“It’s amazing to have these kind of matches before an important week,” he said. “Roland-Garros is one of the tournaments where I really want to play well. I know the format is different but it helps a lot.”