From Brink Of Qualifying Exit, Pouille Powers Into R2 In Winston-Salem
Lucas Pouille faced match point in his second-round qualifying match at the Winston-Salem Open on Sunday against Noah Rubin. But after rallying past the American, the Frenchman found his form and on Monday dismissed Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-4 to reach the second round of the main draw.
The former World No. 10 saved all four break points he faced and won 83 per cent of his first-serve points to earn his first tour-level win since April at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, where he reached the third round. Pouille now has won five consecutive matches against Lopez and leads their ATP Head2Head series 5-1.
Next up for the 27-year-old qualifier will be third seed Daniel Evans, a wild card who received a bye in the first round. The Briton won the pair's only previous clash in four sets at the 2019 US Open.
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Argentine Federico Coria clawed past #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 after two hours and 44 minutes in the North Carolina heat, and he will play French lucky loser Pierre-Hugues Herbert for a place in the third round.
French veteran Richard Gasquet withstood 13 aces from Belarusian Egor Gerasimov en route to a tough 7-6(4), 7-6(6) win in the featured night match. Gasquet, who with 561 match wins has more tour-level victories in the Open Era than any other Frenchman, will meet the winner of Pouille and Evans in the next round.
Australian Alexei Popyrin claimed three breaks of serve to defeat American Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-4. This year's Singapore champion and World No. 71 set a first meeting with Spanish 15th seed Carlos Alcaraz, who at just 18 is already at No. 54 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
Did You Know?
Pouille won three of his five ATP Tour titles after saving match point: 2017 Budapest (2 MPs vs. Vesely in R2), 2017 Stuttgart (1 MP vs. Struff in R2) and 2018 Montpellier (2 MPs vs. Tsonga in SF).