France Crash Out Of ATP Cup

Benoit Paire of France hits a return to Kevin Anderson of South Africa during the men’s singles match on day six of the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 8, 2020.  AFP

 

Former world number seven Kevin Anderson came back from the brink of defeat in Brisbane Wednesday to down Benoit Paire and end France’s hopes of making it to the quarter-finals of the inaugural ATP Cup.

Paire stormed through the first set and was serving for the match at 5-4 when his serve imploded.

Anderson won the second set but was on the ropes in the third when Paire suffered another meltdown to hand the match to the South African 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/5).

“Sometimes you get a little bit lucky — Benoit played a great match and he was the better player for a lot of it,” Anderson said. “I was just able to stick around.”

Earlier, French captain Gilles Simon was forced to step up to the Group A tie with only 15 minutes notice when number one Gael Monfils withdrew injured.

With Paire playing at number one, Simon took on Lloyd Harris and came back from losing the first set to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

South Africa won the doubles to take the tie 2-1 when Ruan Roelofse and Raven Klaasen beat Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-4.

In the first tie of the day, Novak Djokovic made it three singles wins from three with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Cristian Garin, the world number 33, to win the tie for Serbia after Dusan Lajovic earlier beat Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

Jarry and Alejandro Tabilo salvaged some pride for Chile when they beat Viktor Troicki and Nikola Cacic in the doubles 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).

Djokovic said he enjoyed the challenge of the ATP Cup.

“I’ve never minded, to be honest, to face tough adversity from the blocks and have high-intensity matches from day one of the season,” Djokovic, a 16-time grand slam winner, said.

“I had Kevin Anderson who was playing some extraordinary tennis. I thought it was the toughest match I’ve played here in Brisbane.

“And again against (Gael) Monfils, even though it was straight sets, it was still a lot of rallies and it was quite long and exhausting.

“I really am really happy with the challenges that I’ve had in the last six, seven days here, and hopefully that can allow me to build my form for Sydney and Melbourne later.”

Serbia now travel to Sydney, where they will take on Canada in the quarter-finals and Djokovic said he expected to have even more support from Serbian fans there than in Brisbane.

“I’m enjoying it — I enjoy the fact that we will actually go to a different city together, travel today, practice there tomorrow, play in a different environment,” he said.

“Sydney’s got a big Serbian community, hopefully the support can be as good as it was here, even better.”

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Frenchman Paire Fined $16,500 For Epic ATP Meltdown

File photo

 

France’s Benoit Paire was fined $16,500 by the ATP Tour on Wednesday after an epic meltdown at the end of his first-round match at the ATP Washington Open.

Paire lost to Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on Tuesday at the hard-court tuneup event for the US Open.

Down 4-2 in the final set, the 55th-ranked Frenchman netted an overhead smash to surrender a break and a 5-2 edge. He smashed his racquet on the ground four times and kicked it in frustration.

Baghdatis tried to calm Paire but he hurled two more racquets onto the court, where a ball person collected them.

After a less-than-peak effort on the final point of the match, he congratulated Baghdatis then walked off to a chorus of boos, blowing the crowd kisses as he departed.

The fine, more than double the prize money Paire made for his appearance, was issued by the tour for an audible obscenity, unsportsmanlike conduct and a lack of giving best effort.

Novak Djokovic Reacts To Monte Carlo Defeat

Novak-Djokovic-Andy-Murray-Tennis-Monte-CarloDefending champion, Novak Djokovic, has reacted to his exit from the Monte Carlo Masters after losing to Jiri Vesely.

Djokovic played down reports that an early exit from the competition would aid his chances of winning the French Open at Roland Garros this year.

Unseeded Vesely stunned the world’s number one 6-4 2-6 6-4 to hand Djokovic his second defeat this year.

The organisers of the Monte Carlo Masters said that it was the defending champion’s earliest defeat in the last three seasons.

Vesely came out strongly to win the first set 6-4 as Djokovic seemed to lack his usual speed around the court.

On the flip side, second seeded Andy Murray had to work hard to scale through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

The two-time Grand Slam winner dropped the first set to Benoit Paire of France, and risked losing the second before equaling the scores.

He took just over two and a half hours to finish the match, winning the third set 7-5.

Murray goes on to play Canada’s Milos Raonic, who beat Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Wawrinka To Face Paire In Japan Open Final

wawrinkaTop seed, Stan Wawrinka, would face unseeded Frenchman, Benoit Paire, in the final of the Japan Open in Tokyo.

French Open Champion, Wawrinka served strongly to beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4 7-6 to reach his fourth final of the year.

Paire upset home favourite, Kei Nishikori, 1-6 6-4 6-2, to reach his first ATP Tour 500 final.

Nishikori came into the tournament as defending champion and looked set for successive titles, as he coasted through the first set.

Paire needed a medical timeout to reinforce strapping on his ankle, and the patch-up helped as he found a second win against an increasingly-nervous second seed.

The 26-year-old now has the chance to add to a Maiden Tour title won in Bastad earlier in 2015.