Photo : Vianney THIBAUT|

It just wasn’t to be for Félix Auger-Aliassime in the Lyon Open final on Saturday. The 18-year-old, who in reaching the final will climb to No. 22 in the ATP Tour rankings, was unable to overcome Benoit Paire with the Frenchman in inspired form on home soil.

Regardless, Auger-Aliassime will take great confidence from his run to a second ATP final in the space of just a few months having also contested the Rio Open final in February. There’s also the small matter of a first appearance in the main draw at Roland-Garros, where the Montrealer will take on Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the first round, to look forward to.

The match in Lyon took an early swing in Paire’s favour when, in the third game, he broke Auger-Aliassime’s serve. The Frenchman could have all but sealed the first set when he manufactured three more break points just a few short games later.

But Paire was unable to convert the opportunities and began to show early signs of frustration, an emotion which has been virtually non-existent during his controlled run to the final. Nonetheless, the 30-year-old from Avignon managed to regain his composure to see out the set 6-4.

An early break, and another just a few games later after Auger-Aliassime had pulled level, ensured Paire took command of the second set. At 4-2 up, the Frenchman, ranked No. 51, needed only to hold his serve to see out the match. But, instead, he went one better, breaking Auger-Aliassime’s resolve again to claim the second set 6-3 and the title in the process.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Gabriela Dabrowski and regular doubles partner Xu Yifan won the Nurnberg Cup. There was an extra edge to the match as fellow Canadian Sharon Fichman was on the opposing team, alongside Nicole Melichar of the United States. Dabrowski and Fichman have frequently played doubles together throughout their careers, including just last month in Fed Cup action against the Czech Republic.

It was the 27-year-old from Ottawa who had the upper hand on this occasion, though. Despite dropping the opening set, Dabrowski and her partner fought back to take the second set on a tiebreak 7-6(5). They then saw out the match, claiming the deciding set 10-5 to lift the trophy.

(Feature photo: Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)