Pouille Aces Way To Second Title Of Season In Stuttgart
Frenchman Lucas Pouille hit 29 aces to win his second title of the season on Sunday, coming back to beat Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. Pouille has now won three titles and improves to 3-2 in ATP World Tour finals.
The 23-year-old right-hander also won the inaugural Gazprom Hungarian Open on clay in April. Last September, Pouille won his maiden title at the Moselle Open in Metz.
“I think I took a little bit more of the opportunities than him. He had some break points and didn't make them, and I had only one or two and I made them. So I think that made the difference,” Pouille said.
The MercedesCup final was his first grass-court title match but Pouille was ready for the occasion. Lopez broke him in the first set to take the opener but Pouille responded, saving all four break points in the second set and eking out the tie-break to even the final.
At 2-2 in the third set, after one hour and 43 minutes, Pouille saw his first break point and converted when Lopez netted a forehand. Serving for the match, the Frenchman struck his 29th ace to win his first grass-court title.
Pouille, who accepted a late wild card into the event, was nearly out of the tournament in his opening match. He had to save a match point against German Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round.
Perhaps that – saving a match point early in the tournament – is key to Pouille winning titles this season. In Budapest, he saved two match points in his opener against Czech Jiri Vesely. Pouille will receive 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €112,460 in prize money.
“Of course if you win the first tournament of the grass season you're very confident, but I know that every week is different and every player is tough to beat. I will need to focus again for next week and be ready to play my first round in Halle,” Pouille said.
The 35-year-old Lopez was trying to win his third grass-court title. The Spaniard falls to 5-11 in title matches and 2-2 in grass-court finals. Lopez's previous grass-court crowns came in 2013-14 Eastbourne.
“It was a very good week for me overall. It’s tough for me to be happy after such a close match, but he deserved the win today,” Lopez said. “I’ve been very loyal to this tournament. I grew up watching all my friends win this tournament, but everyone here has made it even better than it was in the past.”
The left-hander was going for his first title since last July in Gstaad. He will receive 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €59,230.