Richard Gasquet suffered heartbreak in the Open Sud de France final for the second year in succession, going down 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to Lucas Pouille.
The all-French showdown was Gasquet's sixth appearance in the Montpellier finale in as many years, but he was punished by Pouille for costly errors.
It was a welcome return to form for the 23-year-old after he was eliminated from the first round of the Australian Open for the fifth time in a row.
There was little between the duo in the opening set, but Pouille's rangy groundstrokes in the tie-break proved too difficult for Gasquet to return.
The pivotal moment came in the fifth game of the second, when the world number 17 converted break point after the 31-year-old threatened to recover from 0-40 down.
Pouille saw three match points slip away before a venomous forehand beat Gasquet and clinched his fifth ATP Tour title.