Paire Survives Monfils’ Antics

BNP Paribas Masters, Paris

[CR20] Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. [CR23] Benoit Paire (FRA)

Monfils is well-known for his on court antics, rarely does a match occur without some demonstration from him.  He is flying high, faking out his opponents with no-look shots, and/or sliding and pulling a muscle resulting in injury and retirement from the match.  Then there are actually those rare matches that Monfils stays focused the entire match and plays brilliant tennis to gain the victory. Today’s match was a weird combination of the above; he seemed focused in the first set and was dominant.  Paire could barely keep the ball in play and initially, Monfils could do no wrong. What went through Monfils’ mind after he won the first set?

The second set seemed destined to end the same as the first when Monfils got the early break.  Did the prospect of losing so easily motivate Paire?  Suddenly he came alive and started to hit the ball with more conviction, pushing Monfils back on his heels.  Just like that the dynamics changed and Monfils had a battle on his hands.  This was not going to be an easy victory after all. Did Monfils lose interest when he actually had to work to win the match?  Paire stepped up his game and Monfils did not keep up.  Did Paire actually defeat Monfils or did Monfils simply lose interest? It’s hard to say; however, Paire definitely played to win and was rewarded with the 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 victory.  Is Monfils ready for retirement?  He has not won a title since February 2014 and seems rather casual about his results.

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