Richard Gasquet won his 16th career's title, defeating Cameron Norrie in the final of ATP 250 tournament in Auckland. 36 years-old Frenchman earned a big achievement, becoming the top ranked player from France as well. Experienced Gasquet survived the tight final match, which was full of turnovers.
Gasquet started his campaign with confident win against WC receiver, local player Kiranapal Pannu. He prevailed really well with more challenging opponents in the names of Joao Sousa (7-6 6-2) and David Goffin (1-6 6-1 6-1) on the road to semifinal which was no contest, while his fellowcountry Constant Lestienne withdrew due to an injury. Cameron Norrie seeded with #2 became the top name of the tournament after early fall of Casper Ruud. The world number 3 faced a shocking upset against Laslo Djere, losing the three-setter in R16. Despite the high seed, Norrie's road to the final was not the cakewalk, while he needed to prevail Jiri Lehecka and Marcos Giron in the whole distance matches, and faced Jenson Brooksby in the semifinal (6-3 6-4).
Final match started well for the top Brit, who earned the first break in fourth game of first set. He didn't managed to serve out this set, but gained his advantage back with another break in 10th game, winning the set 6-4. The Frenchman started to play really well in second set, facing no breakpoints on his serve and winning it with one break 6-4. It forced the decider, where Norrie was the main force just from the start. He broke Gasquet to love in second game. Another service game of Gasquet started simillary bad. He was 0-40 down and at this stage everything pointed to easy win for Norrie. However, the Frenchman prevailed to held, finding his serve in critical moment, saving 4 breakpoints. This game was a plot twist of whole the final. Norrie won his serve just after that, but then it was Gasquet who clicked his gear and won 5 games in a row, breaking his opponent twice, crossing the line with the 4-6 6-4 6-4 win.
Gasquet who is surely built up with his fabulous win will face his fellowcountry - Ugo Humbert in the opening match of the upcoming Australian Open. Winner of this duel can possibly face Nick Kyrgios in R2. Norrie who needs to regroup after this bitter loss, starts his AO campaign against another Frenchman - Luca Van Assche.