Humbert, de Minaur clinch titles

Alex de Minaur
Alex de Minaur celebrates with the trophy after winning the Mexican Open. Photo: Reuters/Henry Romero

Fifth seed Ugo Humbert produced a near-flawless performance to outclass Kazakh Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-3 and capture the Dubai Tennis Championships title on Saturday for his second trophy this season.

By lifting the title, the 25-year-old Frenchman became only the third player in the professional era to win his first six tour-level finals, matching the achievement of Latvia's Ernests Gulbis and Slovakia's Martin Klizan.

"I really don't know, but I have a good statistic," Humbert said about his ability to rise to the occasion in title clashes. "I have a really good team around me."

The in-form Marseille champion edged a tight opening set when seventh seed Bublik fired a double fault in the 10th game as he chanced his arm and attempted a big second serve in a desperate bid to hold.

"It's not easy to play against Bublik," said Humbert, who will climb four places to a career-high world ranking of No. 14 when the list is updated on Monday.

"I stayed really calm and really focused. He had some opportunities to break me in the first set but I knew exactly what I had to do."

Ugo Humbert
Ugo Humbert reacts after winning the final against Alexander Bublik. Photo: Reuters/Satish Kumar

Left-hander Humbert, who took out top seed and Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the semifinal, showcased his superb defensive skills to earn a chance to break in the next set and pounced for a 3-1 lead when Bublik found the net.

He unleashed a monster forehand to go 5-2 ahead before a smiling Bublik looked to throw a spanner in the works by riding a wave of support from the Centre Court crowd.

But Humbert held his nerve two games later as he saved a breakpoint and wrapped up the match on his second championship point with a passing winner.

"For sure I was a bit stressed (in the final game)," added Humbert, who dropped to the floor in delight following the win before joining his team in the stands in emotional scenes.

"It was a little bit tight two or three points but I knew that it would be normal and was ready to suffer. I managed to play well in the last point."

It was a missed opportunity for Bublik to win his second tour-level title this year following his Montpellier triumph.

Third seed Alex de Minaur successfully defended his Mexican Open crown, romping to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Casper Ruud in the Acapulco title clash.

The result helped the 25-year-old Australian snap a four-match losing run in finals and bag his eighth ATP Tour title - his seventh on hard courts - to secure his place in the top 10 of the world rankings that will be updated on Monday.

"It's been an amazing week," said de Minaur, who finished runner-up to Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner in Rotterdam last month.

"It's probably a week I didn't really expect. I came into Mexico not feeling my best and just kept telling myself to keep giving myself chances. I think today I played my best match of the tournament by far.

"Acapulco has been a very good place for me and my tennis career. First time I've won an ATP 500, first time I've defended a title in my career. I feel at home here."

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