Pouille Rallies To Victory In Metz
Fourth-seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille reached his first tour-level semi-final in eight months at the Moselle Open in Metz, rallying from a set and a break down on Friday to defeat Serbian Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Krajinovic broke at 3-3 in the second set and appeared poised for victory, but Pouille responded by breaking back in the next game. The Frenchman rifled a backhand winner on set point and motioned for the Court Central crowd to get out of their seats. Pouille went on a four-game run at 1-1 in the final set before cracking a forehand passing shot to wrap up the win in exactly two hours. He remains unbeaten (3-0) in their FedEx ATPHead2Head series.
Pouille struggled after reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final at this year’s Australian Open, but has shown improved form in recent weeks. He advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final in two years at the Western & Southern Open in Augustt and has won seven of his past nine matches.
Next up for Pouille is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who advanced when second-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili retired due to a right shoulder injury with the Frenchman leading 5-7, 6-3, 4-1. Pouille and Tsonga are tied 2-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, but the Frenchman has won their past two matches.
Basilashvili saved two set points at 4-5 in the opening set, but Tsonga responded with a break at 1-0 in the second set and rode the slight advantage to level the match. After dropping four consecutive games in the decider, Basilashvili took a medical timeout before conceding defeat.
Tsonga continues to thrive on home soil. He prevailed this February in Montpellier (d. Herbert) and is a three-time champion in Metz (2011-12, 2015), with nine of his ATP Tour singles titles coming in France.