Benneteau’s Inspired Run In Paris Continues

Paris agrees with Benneteau

Rolex Paris Masters, France
[5] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. [83] Julien Benneteau (FRA)

With the rumors swirling that this may be the last tournament of his career, Benneteau is giving the performance of his life. Standing in the way of making his second Masters’ semifinals, his first in Paris, was the big serving Croatian, Cilic. Benneteau had lost all three previous matches they played and his chances of winning this were slim given the decline in his ranking in recent years.

Yet, we should never underestimate the power of home court advantage. Some players struggle to perform under the pressure of playing on home soil; however, Benneteau seems to thrive. Benneteau got the first break in the first set; however, he quickly relinquished the lead on his next service game. Cilic would break again to take the lead and seemed to be in control of the set; however, with Cilic, the possibility of choking when in the lead is extremely high. He served for the set at 5-3 and was broken.

After breaking back, the Frenchman seemed to play with increased enthusiasm and spurred on by the home crowd he started playing more aggressively. The first set went to a tiebreak, which he won after Cilic double-faulted. The second set would start the same way with the Frenchman getting the early break, only to squander the lead once more; however, he was never discouraged. He knew his opponent was feeling anxious and likely to give the break right back. Cilic obliged and they were back on serve.

Cilic was the highest remaining seed left in the draw with the withdrawal of the number one seed, Rafael Nadal; with his record against Benneteau, this should have been his match. Unfortunately once again the pressure proved too much for the Croatian and he lost.

Benneteau continued his inspired run in Paris with the 7-6(5), 7-5 defeat of the number three seed.

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