ATP Rome: Benoit Paire eliminates Nicolas Mahut to advance in battle of the Frenchmen

Benoit Paire defeated his fellow countryman Nicolas Mahut in straights coming from a down a break in both sets.

ATP Rome: Benoit Paire eliminates Nicolas Mahut to advance in battle of the Frenchmen
Benoit Paire in action against Stan Wawrinka in Madrid (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Benoit Paire
2 0
Nicolas Mahut

Benoit Paire defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-4 to book a spot in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia where he will play Stan Wawrinka in a rematch of Madrid.  

Paire comes from break behind to take the opening set

Both players held serve to begin the match. In the third game, Paire played an error-filled game which led to Mahut getting the first break points of the match. An ace followed by an unforced error saw the game head to deuce but the 35-year-old smashed a forehand winner to bring up a third break point.

This time, he took his chance with Paire striking a double-fault, 1-2. It was the turn of Mahut to fire the unforced errors with Paire grabbing double break back points at 15-40. A break point was saved by Mahut after dictating the rally and forcing the error from his compatriot.

Benoit Paire strikes a backhand shot (Photo: David Aliaga/Getty Images)
Benoit Paire strikes a backhand shot (Photo: David Aliaga/Getty Images)

In the next point, Paire struck back with Mahut's backhand hitting the net. This was followed with a hold of serve as the 28-year-old regained his lead and led 3-2. The two then held their next service games with Paire generally dictating the long rallies but getting no answers with Mahut finding a way to turn defense into an attack on most occasions.

With Paire ahead 4-3, he took control of the eighth game, winning four points in a row and earning triple break points. A poor Mahut serve left Paire to attack from the off and break for the second time in the set to lead 5-3. The world number 44 eased his way to double match points and clinched the point with a forehand winner to take a set lead, 6-3. 

Mahut fails to press home advantage

Just like the first set, it was the world number 48 who would start the better. Three games in at and up 1-2, a break point chance went the way of the 35-year-old after Paire initially won the point but was overturned by the umpire as the 28-year-old had his racket over the net. Clearly frustrated by the call, Paire then was broken for 1-3 and smashed his racket on the floor before picking up a second and hitting the chair in more frustration.

Nevertheless, he managed to calm himself down and break back immediately at 3-2 after controlling the rally and forcing Mahut to play a shot long over the baseline. Paire, once again consolidated and drew level, 3-3. With the momentum now on his side, Paire took the seventh game to deuce and hit a crosscourt passing shot winner to grab a break point.

Benoit Paire reaches for a shot (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Benoit Paire reaches for a shot (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

This was snuffed out by the two-time Grand Slam champion as the game went to deuce once more. The 35-year-old would again be down a break point but this time, denied Paire and held a tricky service game to edge ahead, 3-4. Two games later, Mahut was put under pressure once more by the world number 44.

All square at deuce and after missing the first serve, Mahut's second serve could only find the racket of Paire who fired a return winner to break at 5-4 on his second attempt. The 28-year-odl Frenchman ran away with the tenth game, going up love-40 and sealing the match with a backhand winner down the line, 6-4. 

Tennis