18-year-old Gabriel Debru clinches first Challenger title in Troyes

Gabriel Debru conquered the Troyes Challenger over Timofey Skatov

by Jovica Ilic
18-year-old Gabriel Debru clinches first Challenger title in Troyes
© Stream screenshot

The young Frenchman Gabriel Debru lifted his first Challenger title on Sunday, conquering the Internationaux de Tennis de Troyes event for his career-best titler at 18. Debru lost his first Challenger final in Prague a year ago.

His results at this level were not that good this season, but a teenager changed that in front of the home fans in Troyes. Gabriel faced Timofey Skatov in the title clash and prevailed 6-3, 6-7, 7-5 in three hours and 22 minutes after a massive battle.

Skatov trailed 6-3, 5-3, standing close to the exit door before performing a comeback. The Kazakh extended the second set with a late break and clinched it in the tie break to force a decider. Gabriel forged a 5-2 lead before Timofey embraced another comeback, erasing the deficit before losing serve in the 12th game to propel the young gun toward the title.

The Frenchman played better behind the first serve but struggled on the second, taking 14 out of 40 points.

Gabriel Debru, Troyes Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

A teenager performed better in the pivotal moments, defending six out of nine break points and clinching five return games from six opportunities.

Skatov squandered game points in the second game of the encounter and got broken after Debru's fine attack and a forced error. The Frenchman opened a 3-0 lead with a hold at 30 in the third game before hitting a loose drop shot two games later, bringing the Kazakh back to the positive side.

Timofey failed to close the seventh game, missing game chances and spraying a backhand error to drop serve and fall 4-2 behind. Gabriel served well in game seven to cement it and wrapped up the opener with a hold at 30 at 5-3.

Timofey Skatov, Troyes Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

Gabriel Debru clinched his first Challenger title at 18.

A teenager broke in the first game of the second set and experienced a massive test at 2-1.

Debru denied four break points and closed the game after an entertaining point that kept him in front. The Frenchman served better in games six and eight, forging a 5-3 advantage and forcing the Kazakh to serve to stay in the match.

Skatov held after a deuce in the ninth game and clinched a break at love in the last moment, locking the result at 5-5 and improving his chances. They introduced a tie break, and the more experienced player had the upper hand.

Skatov secured three mini-breaks and won the breaker 7-1 after Debru's forehand error, forcing a decider after two hours and ten minutes.

Gabriel Debru, Troyes Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

Gabriel denied two break points in the first game of the final set and produced a break at love in game four after Skotov's wayward backhand.

A teenager served well in games five and seven, forging a 5-2 advantage and moving closer to the finish line. Like in the second set, Debru cracked under pressure while serving for the title at 5-4. Gabriel hit a double fault, allowing Timofey to pull the break back and extend the drama.

The Kazakh held at 15 in game ten and reached a deuce in the next one. The Frenchman brought the game home and made a push on the return at 6-5. Skatov squandered a game point after a poor forehand and suffered a break when his backhand landed wide, allowing Debru to seal the deal and celebrate his first Challenger title.