Popko Whips Reboul to Win Thailand F6 Futures

by John on December 31, 2016

Top seed Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan ended his season on a high note Saturday morning, defeating French doubles specialist Fabien Reboul 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Thailand F6 Futures in Hua Hin. The title was the 20-year-old Popko’s fourth of the year and seventh of his career, all on the ITF Futures circuit. Reboul, just 21, bagged his 15th career Futures doubles title last week in the Thailand F5 Futures. Popko, a rising star and a native of Saint Petersburg, is one of a handful of Russian born players who play for Kazakhstan. Fellow Russians Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Golubev and Alexander Bublik are others also contributing to the rise of the Central Asian nation as a fledgling tennis power. The Thailand tournament was one of the final two events of the 2016 tennis season. The other, the Hong Kong F5 Futures, concluded an hour or so after Popko sealed his win in Hua Hin. Popko, ranked No. 223 in the world, landed a sterling 75 percent of his first serves in the contest and kept Reboul on the defensive with his bullet-like, flat ground strokes. Reboul, ranked No. 559, gave Popko a real test in the opening set. The Frenchman, who won his first Futures singles title two weeks ago, traded breaks with Popko in the fifth and eighth games of the opener before losing his serve in the ninth to trail 5-4. Popko served it out, but only after being pressed to two deuces. The second set was all Popko, with the Kazakh racing to a 5-0 lead, courtesy of three breaks. Reboul got one of the breaks back in the sixth game, but ended up succumbing in one hour and 29 minutes. Popko saved one of three break points, Reboul seven of 12. The 2016 tennis season is now officially over. Bring on 2017.

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