Pouille Enjoys Smoother Progress In Budapest
The Frenchman saved two match points to edge Jiri Vesely in his opening second-round match on Thursday, but had an easier time against Klizan, claiming victory in 84 minutes as he saved five of seven break points.
"I think it was a great match," said Pouille. "It was much better than yesterday. My level is increasing and that's good because tomorrow I know it's going to be a tough one. I'm very happy with my performance today."
The 23-year-old Pouille is coming off his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final showing at last week’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Ramos-Vinolas) and improved to a 7-1 mark on clay for the season.
Currently at a career-high No. 14 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Pouille is bidding to win his second ATP World Tour title, adding to his victory in Metz last year.
For a place in the final, Pouille will face sixth seed Paolo Lorenzi, who defeated Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 33 minutes, fending off a late fightback from the Russian after leading 5-1 in the second set. "I think it was one of my best matches of the year," said Lorenzi. "He was playing really good tennis. I'm very happy about the match."
Pouille leads Lorenzi 2-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including victory over the Italian last week in Monte-Carlo. Lorenzi is looking to reach his second ATP World Tour final of the season, after finishing runner-up on clay in Quito in February (l. to Estrella Burgos).