Greetings. Today the ATP 250 events in Metz and St. Petersburg were concluded and there were two first-time winners in Lucas Pouille and Alexander Zverev. Pouille defeated Thiem 7-6(5), 6-2 while Zverev defeated the US Open champ Wawrinka 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
These two are the most promising youngsters on the ATP currently in my view and I therefore expect them to win many more titles. Pouille is 22 years old and will climb from 18th to 16th in the rankings after his win while Zverev is only 19 years old and will climb from 27th to 24th in the rankings.
Pouille climbed from 78th at the start of 2016 to his current ranking while Zverev climbed from 83rd. For both of them, this has to be seen as a breakthrough season especially with their maiden titles this week.
Pouille has done better because he made two slam quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the US Open while Zverev made two slam third rounds at the French Open and Wimbledon. But Zverev is the younger of the two and titles among teenagers are a rarity these days.
The last one to do it was Cilic in 2008 and in the same year Del Potro and Nishikori did it as well. Click here for the complete list.
I think both these players have serious potential for different reasons. Pouille was particularly impressive in his US Open win over Nadal. He has big match temperament and all the shots. Zverev is impressive for the mere fact that he won an ATP title as a teenager and he also has plenty of game.
- Pouille Will Be Better Than Thiem
As for the matches, I only watched short periods of both matches. Pouille had three set points at 5-4 in the first set but Thiem saved them all with good tennis instead of Pouille losing them. In the tiebreak, Thiem raced to a 4-0 lead but made some poor errors, one easy volley miss at 4-1 and one easy forehand miss at *5-4.
Pouille got lucky on one forehand which clipped the net and fell over but that has to go down as a choke from Thiem or you might say clutch tennis from Pouille. The main takeaway is that Pouille was mentally better and that his game is also better suited for indoor tennis than Thiem’s.
You will remember that I predicted the rise of Thiem and now I will do the same with Pouille, but I predict bigger things for him than for Thiem. Pouille has a better all-around game and he is mentally more stable.
Thiem’s game is better suited for slow surfaces especially clay. He can play on faster surfaces as we saw when he won Acapulco(hard) and Stuttgart(grass) but I still think he has some limitations there. And he can be mentally volatile at times.
I don’t see many limitations for Pouille. He has a good serve and he is comfortable from the back and at the net. But most importantly he has the big match temperament. Again, the US Open match against Nadal was very impressive because Nadal was playing well.
Thiem is currently top 10 but I can see Pouille passing him in the rankings in the not too distant future.
- Wawrinka Up To Old Tricks
As far as Stan is concerned, losing in an ATP 250 final to a teen should not surprise us. That is just how he rolls. But is that a sign that he will continue his inconsistency or can we expect him to be more consistent in the future?
Will it take him more than a year to win another slam or will he flatten everyone in his way next year in Melbourne again? It is difficult to tell with Stan. He should have won today at 3-0 in the third set but you gotta give Zverev credit too.
— OurNumberOneRF🎾 (@Mikno78) September 25, 2016
From what I saw Zverev was just solid from the baseline basically and Stan made some unforced errors. That is what happened from 5-5 in the third anyway when I was watching. Stan is completely unpredictable.
He can be pretty damn average for stretches and then all of a sudden he finds a rhythm and becomes unstoppable. I can’t really see him ever become a player who consistently wins big titles but who knows maybe he will be more consistent next year.