Marseilles | Khachanov triumphs in France
Karen Khachanov, the ninth seed, won the Marseilles Open title by defeating the national favourite and third seed Lucas Pouille in three sets to collect the second title of his career.
I felt I was playing good here from the first day. It's nice to play on a full court in the final, and I hope to come back next year Karen Khachanov
The big serving Russian blasted 16 aces in what was a tight contest, winning 7-5 3-6 7-5 on his second match point when Pouille netted from the back of the court.
“I hope there are many more finals between us in the future,” Khachanov said to Pouille. “I felt I was playing good here from the first day. It’s nice to play on a full court in the final, and I hope to come back next year.”
To reach the second final of his career – his first was in China which he also won – the 47th-ranked Khachanov had beaten Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-4 in the second round and Tomas Berdych in the semi-final 6-3 6-2. For Pouille, ranked 16 and last year’s runner-up, it was his second final of the year and sixth overall.
“I’m from Dunkirk, in the north,” he told the crowd. “But I’m starting to feel at home here.”
Over in South America, the sixth seeded Diego Schwartzman overpowered Fernando Verdasco, seeded eight, to win the Rio de Janeiro Open 6-2 6-3 I 83-minutes for what is his second and biggest title of his career,
The victory should lift the diminutive Argentine into the top 20.
This was the second tournament of the Golden swing for Scwartzman after Buenos Aires last week where he made the last eight. This week he notched triumphs over Casper Rudd, Federico Delbonis, Gael Monfils, Nicolas Jarry and the Spanish veteran to grab his first 500 title.
The defending champion Dominic Thiem , seeded two, progressed through two rounds before falling to Verdasco 6-4 6-0 while the top seeded Marin Cilic only survived one round before crashing out to Gael Monfils 6-3 7-6(8) who in turn was defeated by Schwartzman in the next round 6-3 6-4.
In North America the unseeded wild-card entry Frances Tiafoe, won his first career title at Delray Beach.
Ranked 91, the 20-year-old American, a quarter-finalist at the New York Open last week, overcame a series of higher ranked opponents to reach the final. He outplayed Matthew Ebden, the second seeded Juan Mrtin del Potro (7-6(6) 4-6 7-5), Hyeon Chung seeded eight (5-7 6-4 6-4) and Denis Shapovalov (7-5 6-4) to make the final where he overpowered Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-1 6-4 in 61-minutes.
His victory makes him the youngest American player to win a title since Andy Roddick in Houston 2002. He saved four out of five break points to keep the pressure on the German and was broken four times from six opportunities he offered to Tiafoe.