Benoit Paire, who is mostly known for his thundering backhand, came up with something truly extraordinary when he handed Juan Monaco an early exit of ATP Rome 1000 on Monday.
Paire played a brilliant match early on Monday morning in front of a thrilled Italian crowd. He was down a break early in the first set, but came back, forcing a tiebreak, which he won to take a set lead.
Juan Monaco, who is a clay court specialist, came back breaking Paire early once again in the second set and this time he managed to hold on to his advantage winning the second very comfortable 6-1.
The deciding set produced great tennis from both sides, but it was the Frenchman’s feared backhand eventually handed him the victory as Monaco could not hold his nerve serving to stay in the match at 4-5 down. The game therefore ended 7-6 1-6 6-4 in favour of a pumped up Benoit Paire.
Following Paire into the second round is Japanese Kei Nishikori who has found his rhythm on the clay courts after struggling some weeks ago. Beating Roger Federer last week in Madrid was a huge accomplishment and when facing wild card Paulo Lorenzi in his first round match here in Rome, he cruised through to the next round in style.
It was an all one sided affair throughout the whole match as “Nishi” sealed a place in the next round 6-2 6-4.
"I learned a lot of things from last week against Roger," he said speaking to the www.atpworldtour.com.
"I have to be a little more aggressive than usual, using my forehand a lot, and today was much better. I’m playing well and it’s my first victory here, so I’m happy."
The biggest event of the day was seeing the all Italian clash between the two top 25 players, Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi. Fognini who reached the semis of Monte-Carlo, was in charge during the rallies.
Fogini converted a breakpoint at 3-3 in the first set with a rocket forehand to gain the lead, and from there on the little Italian with the magical wrists turned the heat up hugely. It did not take long until he closed out the first set 6-4.
In the second, Fognini kept on pushing straight from the beginning breaking his fellow countryman in the first game, and followed up breaking him yet again for a 4-0 lead.
Seppi had at this point clearly given up mentally and Fabio advanced in 69 minutes, which means he now faces last weeks winner of Madrid, Rafael Nadal in the upcoming round.
As the games of Tuesday starts, both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will be seeking revenge for their early losses last week. Federer will be playing Potatio Starace while Djokovic battles Spaniard Albert Montanes.
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