The nightmare continues for Benoît Paire. The Frenchman has still not won a single game since he resumed competition. His record? Three matches, three defeats including two on abandonment. Victim of gastric problems in all likelihood on Wednesday, he could not go to the end of his match against Casper Ruud in the first round in Hamburg, throwing in the towel after 46 short minutes of play. Time to lose the first set and concede the second entry break (6-4, 2-0 ab.). The Norwegian, who comes out of his first Masters 1000 semi-final in Rome, will face Fabio Fognini for a place in the quarter-finals in Germany.
Obviously, Benoît Paire is struggling to recover from his New York misadventure. Excluded from the US Open for a positive coronavirus test and forced to remain in isolation at the hotel for fifteen days, the Frenchman has, in fact, lacked training. In Rome, despite borderline streaks in which he seemed to let his first round slip away against Jannik Sinner, he had held out for more than an hour and had found reasons for satisfaction. This time, he will only have remained on the court for three quarters of an hour.
A trompe-l’oeil start to the game
Between a player in full fluff like Casper Ruud, who made his entry into the top 30, and another out of form like Benoît Paire, the affair risked, it must be admitted, not to make a fold. But the Avignon player started the game fairly well with two breaks, one of which was confirmed (1-3). Released mainly in backhand, he attacked from the start and deprived his opponent of time. But this beautiful impression was deceptive. Decreased, he was in fact trying to shorten the exchanges as much as possible to save himself, and the dynamic changed as he accumulated the faults (19 in the first set). He thus lost 7 of the last 8 games.
Pair did try to come to the net, also successfully executing a few serve-volleys. But he didn’t have the cash to keep up with the exchange. A few days before the kick-off of Roland-Garros, to imagine him going far towards the Porte d’Auteuil, in this physical state, is if not blindness at least a certain optimism. Unable to hold two sets at a high level, what will happen when he has to align at least three on the Parisian ocher?