ATP Budapest: Lucas Pouille eases past Martin Klizan to book semifinal spot

ATP Budapest: Lucas Pouille eases past Martin Klizan to book semifinal spot

Lucas Pouille continued his great form on clay by advancing to the semifinals for the second straight tournament after beating Martin Klizan.

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Lucas Pouille defeated Martin Klizan at the Hungarian Open to book a place in the semifinals after a 6-4, 6-3 victory. The Frenchman will play Italian Paolo Lorenzi next. 

Pouille grabs first set

The Frenchman started the match quickly, instantly going up a break point at advantage on the Klizan serve. He did manage to save the break point but Pouille quickly picked up a second break point. The 23-year-old was sent wide with the Slovakian venturing to the net and hitting a forehand. However, Pouille played a backhand down the line to which Klizan netted. Pouille consolidated comfortably and impressively, finishing with an ace to get off to a 2-0 start.

Once again, the 27-year-old struggled on serve, being taken to deuce but this time rode the wave and got on the board in the third game, 2-1. Despite having struggled thus far, Klizan did manage to earn two break-back points at 15-40. Pouille got ahead in the rally, constantly attacking the Slovakian and traveled towards the net to hit an overhead winner as he saved the first of two break points.

Lucas Pouille hits a return to Martin Klizan (Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images)
Lucas Pouille hits a return to Martin Klizan (Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images)

But Klizan was to break in the next game as his French opposition was camped at the net as he found a gap and struck a backhand passing shot to level, 2-2. The top seed then took advantage of a poor service game with triple break points going his way. The world number 59 denied his opponent twice but an attempted dropshot found its way only into the net with Pouille breaking back immediately to edge ahead once more. 

The Frenchman saved a break point en route to holding serve the next game to go further ahead, 4-2. Klizan was also to save a break point in the next game to stay in touch at 4-3. In the ninth game, the Slovakian was forced to save a break point as he eventually held serve after four deuces, 5-4. Pouille then went up two set points in the very next game, 40-15 and closed the set a point later, 6-4. 

Number of breaks goes the way of Pouille, who advances

Both players began the second set by holding their opening service games. Pouille took control of the third game, running away to a love-40 lead on the Klizan serve. The Slovakian then won the four points in a row to deny Pouille as he held serve to stay ahead, 1-2. Klizan began to get more confident and a poor service game from Pouille allowed the world number 59 to bring up triple break points.

After saving one break point, Klizan hit a high topspin backhand passing shot as he broke the Frenchman's serve to go further ahead at 1-3. But Pouille remained focused and broke immediately back without any trouble before saving two break points en route to consolidating and drawing level at 3-3.

Lucas Pouille celebrates winning a point (Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images)
Lucas Pouille celebrates winning a point (Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images)

With momentum now firmly with the number one seed, he earned a break point at 30-40. A topspin forehand went wide with Pouille breaking for the second time in two games. The Frenchman held serve once more, this time more comfortably to put the pressure on his Slovakian opponent who was serving to stay in the match.

However, the world number 14 played a near perfect game as triple match points arrived. He saved the first of three match points but conceded the game and match by smashing a forehand into the net with Pouille breaking to win the set 6-3 and advance to the semifinals. 

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