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Brilliant Moutet downs Fritz to win UTS4 title
Corentin Moutet, The Tornado, crowned a stunning two days on the French Riviera as he beat American Taylor Fritz 3-1 to win UTS4.
UTS4 – Final
Moutet beats Fritz: 12-14, 15-11, 13-12, 16-8
- What happened: Corentin Moutet beat Taylor Fritz 3-1 to win the UTS4 final.
- You will also learn: The Tornado completed an unbeaten two days with a fifth straight win.
- Why you should read this article: Moutet is the perfect UTS player, a showman and a shot-maker.
Corentin Moutet – The Tornado and the undoubted star of UTS4 – has the trophy he deserves after he beat American Taylor Fritz, The Hotshot 3-1 to win the UST4 title at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy on the French Riviera on Tuesday night.
In his third appearance in UTS, Moutet turned on the style both with his stunning shot-making and his witty conversation throughout the match, coming from a quarter down to deny Fritz the title.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Moutet said. “If you told me two days ago, I’d say yes, I give you some cash, but you didn’t ask me this question.
“I played really good. I think the toughest match was this morning (against Fabio Fognini) because it was windy. I had to play good tennis because the guys are really good, so I had to play a great level.”
Moutet said the format of the innovative competition perfectly suits his game and personality.
“I think it helps me to be more offensive, with the cards,” he said. “To get the two points, the winners, you have to be offensive. It’s pushing me to be like this, I thin it’s a great format for me, it’s pushing me to be a great player.
“I love this feeling, to be free on the court, to express myself. You can see that everybody who was watching the match liked it, not because of me but because of all the players, because we are human, we are authentic.”
Moutet holds stage, Fritz moves ahead
Moutet held centre stage right from the start of UTS4 and the first quarter was a celebration of everything that’s good about the format; shot-making, defiance and some one-liners from Moutet that would not have been out of place on the stand-up circuit.
Trailing 8-6, Moutet was forced to try to win the next two points in three shots as Fritz used his first UTS card and on the first, The Tornado was convinced he’d done just that, only to be told that he had not. “Can’t you count,” he asked the umpire. “One, two, three”.
Fritz led 12-7 only for Moutet to fight back to 12-12 as Fritz double-faulted. But The Hotshot then won an epic rally to move ahead 13-12 with five seconds remaining and finished it off as Moutet missed on the following point.
“I was counting his shots, so he was right,” Moutet said. “But I was sure I was right. I wasn’t great (at maths), but good enough to count to four.”
Moutet fights back in style, thanks to UTS cards
When Fritz won another long point to go up 10-8 in the second quarter, it looked like he might double his lead.
But Moutet – who beat Fritz in the group stages on Monday – pulled out his next point counts double and won the next point to level, before going up 12-10 and then, using his winner counts for three card to great effect to go up 15-10, enough to see him over the line and level the match.
Moutet snatches deciding point to lead
Fritz threw everything at Moutet at the start of the third quarter but Moutet, using his drop shot smartly, stayed in touch early on and moved ahead 8-6 only to then double fault twice in a row.
The Hotshot thundered a forehand winner to lead 10-9 but Moutet led 12-11 before the American won the last point before the clock ran down. But it was the Frenchman who won the deciding point to put his nose in front by two quarters to one.
The Tornado roars to victory
Fritz won the first two points of the fourth quarter but Moutet would not be denied, storming ahead 6-4 with a brilliant drop shot, lob combination.
A 6-4 lead became 12-4 with more outstanding play, including another lob, and though he missed what was a match point at 12-4, using his winner counts double card (which would have sealed KO mode), there was not enough time for Fritz to get back into it and he clinched victory 16-18.
Moutet said it had been perfect practice ahead of Roland-Garros, which begins in Paris on Sunday.
“I didn’t play that well for a long time on clay,” he said. “I’m really happy with my game, keep working in the same direction and bit by bit I will play more and more positive matches at that level. It’s very positive for me before a Grand Slam.”