Rising French star Ugo Humbert was in a bit of a shock after edging out Benoit Paire 7-6 (2) 3-6 7-6 (5) in the Auckland final for his maiden ATP title. Paire, a three-time ATP champion, recovered from a break down in the third and also saved a match point in the 10th game but ultimately fell just short of claiming a comeback win as Humbert showed great mental strength to win the tie-break.
"I don’t know if I realized what I did today but I’m extremely happy about my first ATP Title," Humbert said, per the ASB Classic. The 21-year-old Frenchman's run to the Auckland title also included wins over Casper Ruud, Marco Cecchinato, Denis Shapovalov and John Isner.
"It’s a tournament of revenge because I've lost to four of the five players I played this week,” Humbert joked, per the ATP Tour. “It’s a great improvement for me and I couldn’t dream of a better beginning for the season."
Humbert, who is set for a career-high ranking of No. 43 in the world, will be opening his Australian Open campaign against home favorite John Millman.