Pouille Ousts Countryman To Reach Stuttgart Final
Lucas Pouille will play in his third ATP World Tour final of the season on Sunday after ousting countryman Benoit Paire 7-6(5), 7-5 during the MercedesCup semi-finals in Stuttgart on Saturday. The 23-year-old Pouille hit 13 aces and saved both break points to advance to his fifth ATP World Tour final.
“I played great. I think it was a very tough match,” Pouille said. “In the important points, I was very, very solid.”
He is 2-2 in title matches for his career and 1-1 this season. Pouille beat Brit Aljaz Bedene on clay in April to win the inaugural Gazprom Hungarian Open in Budapest. The Frenchman fell to countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during the Open 13 Marseille title match in Metz in February.
The fourth-seeded Pouille, who saved a match point in his opener against German Jan-Lennard Struff, will meet Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the grass-court final. Lopez prevailed in a battle of hard-charging left-handers, edging German Mischa Zverev 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 7-5 in two hours and four minutes.
The title match will mark Lopez's first ATP World Tour final of the season. He is 5-10 in finals but hasn't played in a title match since last August in Los Cabos (l. to Karlovic). Lopez beat Robin Haase last July to win the Gstaad title.
“The match was so close from the beginning to the end. I was able to connect on great returns in the last game,” said Lopez, who broke Zverev in the final game.
The 6'2” Lopez improved to 3-0 against Zverev in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. The 29-year-old Zverev was looking to reach his second final of the season after falling to Stan Wawrinka in the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open last month.