ATP Marseille: Karen Khachanov defeats Lucas Pouille to capture his second title

Karen Khachanov won his second title in Marseille after a hard-fought three-set win over Lucas Pouille.

Karen Khachanov
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Lucas Pouille

In just under two hours, Karen Khachanov captured the Open 13 Provence title with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 victory over home favorite Lucas Pouille. This is the Russian's second title after lifting the Chengdu Open in 2016. This was also his second top-20 win this week after dumping out Tomas Berdych in the semifinal. 

Khachanov strikes first in final 

The home player, Lucas Pouille got this final underway with a hold to 15. Russian Karen Khachanov followed suit with a hold of serve to love to make it 1-1. The first break point of the final went to the 21-year-old at 40-30 with Pouille sending a forehand wide. The Russian missed his chance to break as the game headed to deuce. 

The third seed would then save the second breakpoint before going down a break with an uncharacteristic error. Khachanov comfortably held serve to love as he consolidated his break to 3-1 up early on. Both players began to look comfortable on serve and the eighth game went to 30-all but the ninth seed made it 5-3 in an attempted comeback. 

Karen Khachanov plays a forehand shot (Photo: Boris Horvat/Getty Images)
Karen Khachanov plays a forehand shot (Photo: Boris Horvat/Getty Images)

Pouille would hold serve to love and with the 21-year-old a game away from the opener, he began to up his game. This paid off as two breakpoints went his way following an attempted hawkeye call failed from the world number 47.

Khachanov quickly snuffed out the first breakpoint attempt but Pouille used the slice to set up a forehand down the line to break for 5-5. However, Khachanov immediately re-gained his break lead and served it out to 30 for a 7-5 lead following an unreturnable serve out wide.

Pouille fights back to send the match to a decider

Up a set on the Frenchman, Khachanov continued to dominate Pouille, earning two breakpoints at the start of the set. But the Frenchman sent the game to deuce and finished off the game by going out wide on serve, opening up the court and hitting a forehand winner for 0-1. The ninth seed, having saved two breakpoints made it a simple hold for 1-1.

Both players held their second service games of the set as neither could be split at the beginning of the second at 2-2. Once again, Pouille got out of a tight situation at 30-all to edge out in front at 2-3 as the match headed towards the hour mark.

Lucas Pouille gears up to hit a slice shot (Photo: Boris Horvat/Getty Images)
Lucas Pouille gears up to hit a slice shot (Photo: Boris Horvat/Getty Images)

A double-fault kicked off the game for the third-seeded Frenchman who would go on to earn double breakpoints with the Russian overhitting a simple forehand. With pressure on his side, Khachanov crumbled and the momentum switched the way of the Frenchman who broke for 2-4.

A simple hold to 15 made it 2-5 for Pouille. Khachanov held his next game to love, putting the pressure on the home player. The 21-year-old Russian was forced to save two set points but ultimately couldn't save a third as Pouille took the set 3-6. 

Russian youngster wins his second title with late break 

Just like in the previous set, both players began with a hold, this time to love for 1-1. The first point of the set was dropped by the Russian but this didn't stop him taking a 2-1 lead. The 21-year-old Chengdu champion piled pressure on Pouille by leveling the fourth game at 30-all.

An overhead winner followed by an unforced error gave Pouille the game and 2-2. The fifth game also went to 30-all and Khachanov held to keep in front at 3-2. The rest of the set went on serve as both players looked relatively comfortable.

Karen Khachanov celebrates winning the Open 13 Provence title (Photo: Boris Horvat/Getty Images)
Karen Khachanov celebrates winning the Open 13 Provence title (Photo: Boris Horvat/Getty Images)

Five games passed and at 5-5, Pouille attempted to find a breakthrough in the match by taking the game to 30-all but the Russian came through and really applied the pressure. Serving to stay in the set, the third seed fell behind a break/match point at 30-40 by sending a forehand long of the baseline.

The 21-year-old missed a big opportunity to put the match to bed as he sent an overhead just wide of the line with the game headed to deuce. An unfortunate double-fault handed a second break/match point to the Russian. This time, he sealed the deal 7-5 to win his second ATP World Tour title.