It was four of the youngest players in the tournament who battled for a spot in the finals on Saturday at the 11th edition of the Gatineau Futures presented by the Turpin Group, National Bank Financial. Sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the tournament, which offers $25, 000 U.S. in total prize money, will be held from February 24 to March 4, 2018 at the Sporthèque in Gatineau.
The first semi-final match of the day featured two qualifiers, Florian Lakat of France (22 years old) and Strong Kirchheimer (22 years old) of the United States. Not much separated the two players, as they are ranked world no. 760 and no. 787 respectively and neither having won a singles title on the professional circuit. It was the American who came out strong and took the first break. Kirchheimer needed only 33 minutes to take the set, winning an impressive 100% of his first service points. After a relatively tighter first set, the American kicked his game into second gear and took the match 6-3, 6-1 in a little over an hour.
Both players faced a tough road to Saturday’s semi-final with Lakat facing the tournament’s fourth seed Canadian Frank Dancevic in the quarter-finals while Hirchheimer was tested early on as he overcame Joris De Loore of Belgium, the tournament’s second seed and current world no. 318.
Saturday’s second semi-final match was a heavyweight battle between the tournament’s sixth seed Ugo Humbert (19 years old) of France and the first seed Dominik Koepfer (23 years old) of Germany, who eliminated Canadian Samuel Monette in a tight three set match late the night before. In what was an extremely tight first set, it was the Frenchman who got the late break to take the lead in the match. Humbert continued his momentum into the second set and dominated his opponent with his heavy hitting and effective serving. In total, Humbert tallied 12 aces on his way to booking a spot in the final by a score of 7-5, 6-0.
Lakat and Schneider crowned doubles champions
In the final match of the day, the tournament’s fourth seeds Florian Lakat of France and Ronnie Schneider of the United States battled back from a set down to beat the American duo of JC Aragone and Deiton Baughman by a score of 2-6, 7-6(6), 10-7 to take home the title.
After the final, Schneider thanked the spectators present for their support throughout the week. “It’s not often that we get to play in front of so many fans at these types of tournaments. You guys have been amazing all week, especially in the past few days. Your encouragement is very appreciated by the players.”
The singles final between Kirchheimer and Humbert will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Sporthèque in Gatineau. Fans can follow the action live on the ITF Live Scoring website.
The Gatineau Futures presented by the Turpin Group, National Bank Financial, is the first in a series of three tournaments that will be played in Quebec during the months of February and March. The event will be followed by the Sherbrooke Futures and the Drummondville National Bank Challenger.
*Feature photo: Gilles Gagnon