These two men have already faced each other once. It was in 2018, during the Challenger of Nur-Sultan, and Alexei Popyrin had won in 3 sets (without going through the “tie-break” box).
This is the first edition of this ATP 250 from Singapore. There hadn’t been tennis here since 1999.
We are dealing with two players who are very similar. Good character servers, with a powerful forehand and a touch of excitement on the backhand. This final could sparkle, or be a big flop. The choice is yours.
What makes the result of this match very undecided is that we are dealing with two players who do not have a lot of experience of these moments. Mental management is a very important element in this final, and a very disturbing variable at the moment.
So I expect Alexander Bublik and Alexei Popyrin to feel a little pressure on their shoulders, and that might well have an impact on their tennis. The 21-year-old Australian will play his first final in an ATP tournament (he’s going to have trouble sleeping tonight, hey). The Kazakh will be competing in his fourth ATP final. The problem is that he has never won a single one: defeats in Newport (against Isner in 2019), Chendgu (against Carreno Busta in 2019) and Antalya (against Alex de Minaur on withdrawal, in 2021).
This will be the second final of the year for Alexander Bublik, who has shown consistency since the beginning of this season.
I will give a slight preference to Alexander Bublik. I feel he is more solid on his services, and that could make a difference in this match. Alexei Popyrin can’t be said to be a quiche in this gaming sector. He also knows how to win many aces. But I think that the pressure he will have on his shoulders will take up more space at home than on the Kazakh side. As a result, the Australian could play less naturally and that will generate a lot more waste at home.
In rallies, these two players know how to go for winning shots, especially in forehand. What I also like about Alexander Bublik is his unpredictability, which may well allow him to take Alexei Popyrin out of his comfort zone. Popyrin often prefers to stay on his line and try to dominate the rallies. Alexander Bublik knows how to manage rallies by staying behind his line (up to a certain limit, of course), but he can also force his opponents to race forward (via sympathetic bumps). Finally, he can climb to the net himself to finish the points. His volley is also better than Popyrin’s one.
It should also be noted that Alexander Bublik has managed this week to tame such catchy players as Nishioka and Albot. This shows a certain regularity in the rallies which could be useful for him in this match.
I’m expecting a tough and mentally difficult final for these two young players. Alexander Bublik seems slightly more experienced to me and with a few more weapons in his game.
And then, after 3 lost finals, Alexander Bublik might deserve to finally win his first ATP trophy. Unless he wants to beat the current performance of Felix Auger-Aliassime and his 7 consecutive defeats in the final. He would be able to do so.
Prediction: Alexander Bublik wins