Three years after turning pro, in September of 2016, Lucas Pouille captured his first title in Metz, defeating Dominic Thiem, 7-6 (5), 6-2, in the final. Earlier that month, the Frenchman cracked the Top 20 for the first time. Pouille turned heads at the majors in 2016. After reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon—defeating Juan Martin del Potro and Bernard Tomic in the process—he matched that result at the U.S. Open. A heavy underdog in the Round of 16 at Flushing Meadows, Pouille stunned Rafael Nadal, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6). At that same tournament, Pouille reached the doubles semifinals alongside countryman Adrian Mannarino. Pouille’s favorite surface is hard courts, he favors his forehand and he plays an aggressive brand of tennis—he’s not afraid to come to the net. Like so many other players of his generation, he grew up idolizing Roger Federer.
Pouille stunned Nadal, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6), in the Round of 16 at the 2016 U.S. Open: