Lucas Pouille Closes In On Top 10 Debut In Dubai - UBITENNIS
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Lucas Pouille Closes In On Top 10 Debut In Dubai

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Lucas Pouille (zimbio.com)

One win is all that separates Lucas Pouille from breaking into the top 10 for the first time in his career.

 

The French second seed has closed in on the milestone following an epic 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6(5), win over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in the semifinals at the Dubai Tennis Championships. Pouille, who has reached his second straight tour final, hit 16 aces and won 86% of points behind his first serve. On what was a rainy day in Dubai, the Frenchman had the chance for a straight sets victory as he lead the match, 6-3, 5-3. But was unable to close it out as he held his nerve to clinch the decisive tiebreaker.

“It was really tough serving for the match,” said Pouille.
“Then came the rain (for an eight-minute pause late in the second set). When we came back out it was a very different match, very tight.
“I’m very, very happy to be in the final, I told myself to stay focussed. I tried to do my best when we came back out (for the second time).
“The tiebreaker was intense, every point was tough to win. But I think I played my best tennis in the second tiebreaker.”

24-year-old Pouille is now within touching distance of the top 10. Despite the milestone looming, he has played down the significance of it. Casually saying that the final ‘is not going to be the most important match of his life.’

“Of course, I know. I heard. I’m not watching the ranking, but so many people told me already. Of course, I know,” he told reporters at his press conference.
“Well, that’s exciting. Playing to reach the top-10 for the first time, of course it’s something great. But obviously if I play like this every week of the year, I mean, if I’m focused like this and I’m mentally as strong as I am now, I’m sure one week or another I will be in the top 10.”

Third seed Roberto Bautista Agut is the player hoping to deny Pouille the Dubai title. In his semi-final clash, the Spaniard ended the run of underdog Malek Jaziri with a 6-3, 6-4, win. Jaziri was participating in the last four of an ATP tournament for the first time at the age of 34.

Bautista Agut, who was trailing 1-4 in the second set, will now play in the final of an ATP 500 tournament for the first time in his career.

“I’m in the first final in a 500 event [and] I think I played a great match,” Bautista Agut told atpworldtour.com. “He was playing unbelievable at the beginning of the second set, playing very fast [and he played] some good volleys.”

Pouille trails Bautista Agut 1-2 in their head-to-head, but won their most recent encounter at the 2016 US Open.

 

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Marin Cilic rallies from one set down to beat Ilya Ivashka in Marseille

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Marin Cilic came back from one set down to beat Ilya Ivashka 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 at the Open 13 in Marseille to secure his spot in the second round, where he will face Denis Shapovalov. Cilic tied 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Shapovalov.

 

Ivashka won the opening set with his only break in the sixth game. Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set and saved break points in the sixth and seventh games at deuce. Cilic earned three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break and converted his third chance to win the tie-break 7-5. Cilic earned a double break in the third and fifth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Ivashka pulled one break back on his second chance to close the gap to 3-5. Cilic sealed the win on his first chance.

Aljaz Bedene from Slovenia came back from one set down to fifth seed Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-4 7-5 to reach the second round Khachanov earned his only break in the opening game at deuce to win the first set 6-4. Bedene converted his third break point chance at deuce to win the second set 6-4. Bedene earned the only break in the 12th game to win the third set 7-5. Bedene beat Khachanov for the first time in his career.

Gilles Simon beat his compatriot Harold Mayot 6-4 7-6 (7-3). Simon earned his second break point chance to win the first set 6-4. Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games and held their serve en route to the tie-break. Simon earned two early mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3.

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Jannik Sinner beats Norbert Gombos to set up second round clash against Danil Medvedev in Marseille

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Last year’s Next Gen Finals champion and world number 68 Jannik Sinner beat Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos 6-4 7-6 (7-5) at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Sinner went down 1-4 in the tie-break of the second set. The Italian player saved all six break points he faced and did not face any break points in the 2-hour and nine-minute match.

Last week Sinner scored his first top 10 win against David Goffin in Rotterdam to reach his maiden ATP 500 quarter final.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Sinner earned three consecutive set points with a backhand lob and sealed the opening set 6-4 with a break at love.

Sinner saved a break point in the first game of the second set with an ace. He saved another break point with an ace. Gombos earned two two more break points, but Sinner saved them with a forehand and and an ace. Sinner saved two break points to force to set up a tie-break. Gombos went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Sinner came back by winning six of the next seven games to win the tie-break 7-5.

Sinner set up a second round match against 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev, who reached the quarter finals on his tournament debut in 2017.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz cruised past France’s Antoine Hoang 6-4 6-1 in just 64 minutes. Hurkacz dropped just points on his first serve to set up a second round match against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

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Mikael Ymer overcomes Richard Gasquet to advance to the second round in Marseille

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Swedish 21-year-old Next Gen player Mikael Ymer edged past Richard Gasquet 6-3 3-6 7-5 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Ymer fended off 7 of the 10  break points he faced and broke serve in the third match point in a marathon third game setting up a second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ymer raced out to a 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks. Gasquet pulled back one break in the seventh game to close the gap to 2-5, but Ymer served out the first set in the ninth game with an ace.

Ymer saved three break points in the sixth game, but Gasquet earned the break on his third chance in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3.

Ymer got an early break in the second game of the third set to open up a 3-0 lead. Gasquet broke back in the ninth game and held serve to draw level to 5-5. Ymer converted his third break point at deuce to seal the third set 7-5 in the 12th game.

Benoit Paire beat Gregoire Barrere 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the all-French match. Paire earned his only break of the match in the third game of the opening set. He saved two break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Paire cruised through to a 7-1 win.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-1 3-6 6-4. Ivashka broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Popyrin earned one break in the fourth game to clinch the second set 6-3. Popyrin got an early break at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Ivashka sealed the win with a break.

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