Pouille Clinches Fifth Career Title
Second seed has saved match points en route to three titles in the past 12 months
For the third time in 10 months, Lucas Pouille has saved match points en route to an ATP World Tour title. The 23-year-old overcame three-time champion Richard Gasquet 7-6(2), 6-4 at the Open Sud de France to win his fifth tour-level title on Sunday.
Pouille saved two match points at 1-6, 3-5 against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Saturday’s second semi-final before his compatriot was forced to retire with a left hamstring injury. The World No. 17 seized his opportunity in the final with a fine serving performance, scoring an impressive 87-minute win over Gasquet to lift his second title on home soil (Metz, 2016).
"I'm very happy with the win today," said Pouille. "Obviously it was a tough match. Richard is an amazing player and one of the best on tour. The first set was very important and taking the tie-break led me to the victory. I'm very happy with the way I played. It was a great week for me in Montpellier, winning the title in the city where I got my first wild card on tour at 18. It's a great feeling and I'm very happy with this. I hope to come back next year and defend my title."
The opening set saw no breaks of serve with Gasquet, competing in his sixth consecutive Montpellier final, saving the only break points of the set at 3-3. Pouille took the initiative in the tie-break with aggressive play and secured the set with a powerful serve down the T which Gasquet could not retrieve.
Pouille’s confidence grew from that point, as he opened his shoulders with the comfort of a one-set cushion. The younger Frenchman opened up a 0-40 lead on his opponent’s serve and converted at the third time of asking when Gasquet misfired on his backhand wing.
The 23-year-old continued his dominant progress on serve, holding with relative ease to eventually stand with three championship points at 5-4 (40-0) but the World No. 33 showed why he has been so hard to beat in southern France, clawing his way back to deuce. But Pouille would not be denied, running around his backhand and driving a forehand down the line to clinch the title on his fourth match point.
Pouille will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and $89,435 in prize money and is projected to move up one place to No. 16 in the ATP Rankings.