He may have lost his second final in seven days but Lucas Pouille insists he walks away with lots of positives from his week in Dubai.
The Frenchman, who lost to Karen Khachanov in the Marseille title match last Sunday, was hoping to secure a spot in the top-10 for the first time in his career but fell short by just one victory as he fell to Roberto Bautista Agut in Saturday’s final at the Aviation Club.
Appearing in his third final in four weeks, Pouille played 14 matches since the start of February and looked sluggish against an overpowering Bautista Agut.
But the 24-year-old refused to blame fatigue for his defeat against the Spaniard, and gave him full credit after the match.
“I think the only thing is that Roberto was too good today. He played some great tennis this week so a big congratulations to him and his team, you guys are doing some great work and I wish you all the best for this year,” Pouille said on court during the trophy ceremony.
The Dubai resident will rise to a career-high No. 12 on Monday, and is hoping to take his good form into Indian Wells and Miami, where he has great opportunity to pick up points having lost early in both last year.
“I tried very hard until the end. He was, yeah, just better than me today. Now I need some rest, need to travel to the States. It’s a long travel, long jet-lag with 12 hours. I really need to try to be ready for Indian Wells,” said Pouille, whose record in finals now is 5-4.
Looking back at his week in the Emirates, he added: “It would have been better with a victory, so that’s why it’s not fantastic.
“No, it was a good week. Very positive things, a lot of positive things. We’ll see how it goes for the few coming weeks.
“Anyway, I’m very happy with the way I played, with the way I managed the transition between Marseille and here because it was really close. I don’t know, I didn’t really know how to deal with it. But I’m very happy with the way I did. Now I need to look forward.”
Pouille is now No. 9 in the ATP Race to London and he admits making it to the season finale – where only the year’s top-eight compete – is a main goal for him in 2018.
His list of objectives for the season is not a modest one.
“Reaching top 10, trying to be in London at the end of the season. That’s definitely one of my goals. Winning as many titles as possible, go as far as possible in the Grand Slams especially,” said Pouille, who owns five ATP titles and has reached two quarter-finals at the Slams so far.
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