France’s 23-year-old Lucas Pouille is having a coming-out party on clay this season, highlighted by his first career claycourt title on Sunday at the Gazprom Hungarian Open in Budapest.
The top seed in the final defeated Brit qualifier Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-1 for his first title on clay and second career after Metz on indoor hardcourt last year.
Pouille’s win came on the heels of reaching the semifinals at the Monte Carlo Masters on clay a week ago when he lost to Albert Ramos Vinolas in three sets.
“I feel very happy with the way I started the clay season,” the Frenchman said. “To win here gives me a lot of confidence for the future. It’s been a great week and it was nice to see the French supporters in the crowd.”
The qualifier Bedene saw a 16-match win streak, which included two Challenger-level titles and running through the Budapest qualifying and main draw, come to an end.
“I had problems with my finger and felt uncomfortable hitting my shots,” Bedene said following the final. “I wasn’t close to the level I should be at to beat Lucas, but he was playing really well. It was like everything went in for him.”
The Slovenian-born 27-year-old Brit fell to 0-2 in career finals, reaching his previous final in Chennai in 2015.
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