Pouille arrives late but starts fast in Dubai tennis

Dubai (AFP) –


Second seed Lucas Pouille had no trouble with the transition to outdoor hardcourt as he beat qualifier Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday at the Dubai Championships.

The Frenchman, a finalist indoors in Marseille on Sunday, wasted no time in acclimatising as he beat his Latvian opponent in 79 minutes.

"I knew it would be tough because I played only 20 minutes before the match," said Pouille who flew in on Monday. "I arrived yesterday pretty late.

"I fell asleep around 4 or 5 a.m., so a bit tired. But I'm happy with what I did tonight."

"I've won many matches the past three weeks, so I'm arriving here with a lot of confidence. I think that helped me in the tough moment. Especially in the breakpoints,

"I served pretty well and played good rallies. That's very positive."

Pouille said he never questioned his decision to play Dubai: "I really wanted to come back because last year I had good feelings.

"I was playing well. I wanted to come and try to go as far as possible. I knew it would be tough. I know it's going to be tough tomorrow, as well. I'll try to give my best and go as far as possible."

Pouille's compatriot Richard Gasquet was hampered by a knee problem as he lost to Croatian Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3 earlier on Tuesday.

Coric, who beat Andy Murray here in the quarter-finals three years ago, will next face a third Frenchman, Benoit Paire, who beat Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka on Monday.

"I knew Gasquet was semi-injured, but I didn't know what to expect," the 50th-ranked Coric said. "I was really just trying to focus on myself.

Gasquet made the effort but was unable to get the win.

"He did come back in the both sets, it was pretty good effort from him," the winner said. "But I managed to stay calm. I didn't panic. It was good."

Pierre-Hugues Herbert scored a French victory as he put out Joao Sousa of Portugal 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10/8).

German Jan-Lennard Struff advanced to the second round beating Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria 6-2, 6-4. Serb seventh seed Filip Krajinovic beat Italy's Thomas Fabbiano 0-6, 6-2, 6-2.