ATP / WTA: Bublik and Ostapenko bounce back

Teenager Diana Shnaider also ruled in Thailand and it was a busy week in terms of Davis Cup qualification.

Alexander Bublik / Finale Montpellier 2024©Jean-Baptiste Autissier / Open Sud de France
 - Alex Sharp

Grand Slam tennis might not be on the menu, but there have been plenty of headlines to catch up on since the Australian Open.

Here are the main storylines from a jam-packed week on the men's and women's tours.

Ostapenko loving life in Linz

Latvian powerhouse Jelena Ostapenko is building some serious momentum in 2024.

The world No.11 stormed past Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3 in Linz on Sunday to lift her eighth career title.

In doing so, the 26-year-old holds a 13-2 record for the season, collecting multiple titles in a campaign for the first time since 2017. That year Ostapenko won her breakout major at Roland-Garros and in this current form, she could be in for a long stay in Paris this summer!

"It was a really good week, and I felt like every match I was playing better and better," said Ostapenko, who saved match point in the second round facing qualifier Clara Tauson.

"It’s really amazing to win two singles trophies this year already, and winning a doubles trophy as well, playing Australian Open doubles final - it’s like four tournaments and four finals, which is really great.

"I’m just happy with the way I’m playing this year. I think I feel like I’m more mature and more confident with my game, so it even motivates me more to work hard and get back to the Top 10."

Bublik, the comeback King

With the mercurial Alexander Bublik, you never know what you're going to get, but it will be entertaining for sure.

This week, the Kazakh enthralled the Montpellier crowds to regain the artistic trophy at the Open Sud de France.

The 2022 champion rallied past the resurgent Borna Coric 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 to clinch a fourth career crown and became the first player in ATP history to win a title having lost the first set in all of his matches. 

“It’s a pleasure. What can I say? Being here again with a trophy, in Montpellier, where I won my very first title, being with my coach & my wife here," said Bublik, turning the tables against Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Shevchenko and Felix Auger-Aliassime en route to the final.

“I was on the verge of losing in my opening round, now here I am standing with the title.

"I’ve seen all these great former champions out there, and my face is in the stadium too. Maybe if I continue playing like this, I will have more of my pictures here, so I’m really happy.”

Shnaider's milestone moment

Teenager Diana Shnaider will never forget her trip to the Thailand Open.

The 19-year-old defeated Zhu Lin 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 to collect her maiden title on the WTA tour.

Shnaider, a college tennis star for North Caroline State last year, became world No.60, thanks in particular to her first final loss in Ningbo.

Last week, she toppled all three top seeds to take home the top prize, with victories over Magda Linette, No.2 seed Zhu Lin, and Wang Xinyu.

Slovakia serve up a shock

The 2024 Davis Cup Finals will consist of the 2023 finalists (champions Italy and Australia), two wildcard nations (Great Britain and Spain) as well as 12 qualifiers.

The home-and-away clashes were played across the globe this weekend as 2005 runners-up Slovakia, spearheaded by Lukas Klein and Alex Molcan, qualified with a resounding 4-0 scoreline over last year's semi-finalists Serbia. 

Elsewhere, France enjoyed a 4-0 victory over Chinese Taipei, which was the same scoreboard USA achieved against Ukraine, and an inspired Zizou Bergs fired Belgium to a 3-1 triumph in Croatia.

Over to Rosario in Argentina, where Sebastian Baez was the hero on home courts. The world No.26 edged a decisive rubber facing Kazakhstan's Dmitry Popko 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) to spark jubilant scenes.