Marseille, February 23: Stefanos Tsitsipas sealed a stunning defence of his Open 13 Marseille title as he crushed the hopes of Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The brilliant Greek has endured a rocky start to 2020 but put a run of early-tournament defeats behind him with another success in the south of France, beating Canadian Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-4 in the final.
It means that for the second yet in a row, Tsitsipas has run through the Marseille draw without dropping a set, while for Auger-Aliassime the wait for a first ATP singles trophy goes on.
This setback makes it five defeats in five finals for the 19-year-old Canadian, including a loss to Gael Monfils in Rotterdam last weekend.
Tsitsipas was highly impressive and the 21-year-old roared in delight when Auger-Aliassime ripped a forehand over the baseline on match point.
The trophy presentation became a charming love-in between two of the stars of the new generation in the men's game.
Addressing Auger-Aliassime, who held a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head before this clash, Tsitsipas said: "It's great to be fighting on the court against you.
"I feel like you make me a better a player. And I hope I make you that too.
"I would like to congratulate you on a great week. Someone had to win the title - it was a very close match.
"I've been following you, even when you've not been playing the same tournaments as me.
"Keep putting in the extra work and I'm sure you can achieve a lot of things in the future which will be very good for our sport and for the younger generations."
It was a fifth tour title for Tsitsipas, and it seems only a matter of time before Auger-Aliassime begins carrying off the big trophies.
These two could contest many more finals in the years ahead.
Auger-Aliassime said: "We've known each other since juniors. It's getting tougher and tougher to play you - we're equal now - two wins each - so it's a great rivalry and a great fight every time against you, but congrats for this one."