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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, June 18, 2017

 
Lucas Pouille

Lucas Pouille cracked 29 aces in a 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 triumph over Feliciano Lopez in the Stuttgart final.

Photo credit: adidas

Lucas Pouille tamed a tricky opponent in a stylish close to capture the first grass-court title of his career.

Pouille pounded his 29th ace on championship point rallying past Feliciano Lopez, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, to capture his third career title in Stuttgart.

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The French wild card won his second title of the season, following his clay-court championship in Budapest.

The Pouille serve was a key stroke: He saved six of seven break points and won 67 percent of his second serves.



The 16th-ranked Frenchman went nose-to-nose at net with Jan-Lennard Struff to save a match point in his 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 Stuttgart opener and pulled off another comeback from a set down today.

Holding his ground in the corner of the court, Lopez wristed a backhand pass down the line that Pouille could not control earning the opening break of the match for 2-1.

The 35-year-old Spaniard stamped a love hold to back up the break.

Lopez won 14 of 15 points played on his first serve in the opening set, including banging a body serve to seize a one-set lead.

Contesting his 16th career ATP final, Lopez effectively mixed his spins, chipping his backhand at times and driving his forehand presenting an unsettling opposition.

In the fifth game, Pouille tried drawing the three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist forward with a chipped forehand and paid the price as Lopez earned double break point. Pouille ripped an ace and followed with a sharp serve withstanding the pressure to hold for 3-2.

Pressed to 30-all in the 11th game, Pouille exploited the Spaniard’s chip backhand return with a serve-and-volley winner before belting his 18th ace down the middle for 6-5.

The fourth-seeded Frenchman started the tie break with an ace then attacked Lopez’s weaker wing coaxing a floated lob long for the mini break.

Attacking the left-hander’s backhand again, Pouille extended his lead to 5-3 then whipped the wide serve for triple set point.

On his third set point, Pouille challenged the Lopez forehand with a twisting slider serve closing the set to level the match.

Consistent depth helped Pouille carve out his first break in the final set.

Sending his opponent scurrying well beyond the baseline, Pouille smacked a forehand down the line earning his first break of the day for a 3-2 lead in the decider after one hour, 42 minutes.

It was just the fourth time in five matches Lopez dropped serve. Pouille issued a love hold to confirm the break for 4-2.

Squandering a 30-love lead in the eighth game, Pouille double faulted into the tape handing Lopez a break point. A bold second serve denied it as Pouille worked through a tricky hold for 5-3.

Serving for the championship, Pouille won an electric 19-shot rally shoveling a short half-volley winner for championship point. He double faulted, but came right back blasting his 28th ace for a second match point. Lopez stretched Pouille with a forehand pass then flashed a forehand pass down the line.

Pouille closed in style slashing his 29th ace to take his third career title in two hours, five minutes.


 

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