Ice Man Ruud stays cool to knock Paire out of UTS Grand Final

Casper Ruud knocked Benoit Paire out of the UTS Grand Final on day one with a thumping late-night win

Capser Ruud - Tennis Majors / UTS Capser Ruud – Tennis Majors / UTS

Cool under pressure, Casper “The Iceman” Ruud beat Benoit “The Rebel” Paire 17-12, 18-9, 16-10 in the last match of the first day of the UTS Grand Final in London.

The result means that Paire is out of the tournament, having lost both his round-robin matches on day one, and Andrey “Rublo” Rublev is through to the semi-final.

It also means that when Ruud plays Diego Schwartzman on Saturday, they know the winner will also be through to the Final Four.

There was more fancy footwork from Paire with a repeat performance of his keepy-uppies earlier in the day, but it was Ruud who was fleeter of foot on court, coming from behind to take the first quarter 17-12. The Ice Man with surprising frankness described it as “a steal”.

The Rebel’s beloved backhand down the line made a reappearance in the second quarter, and despite the late hour in London, Paire was just as fired up as he had been in the opening match six hours previously, against Schwartzman.

The Ice Man remained focused, though, winning the second quarter 18-9 and taking a two quarters to love lead.

The Rebel brings out the trick shots

With the result seemingly inevitable, Paire began to wheel out the fan favourites: the underarm serve, a tweener, and a spectacular lob that completely wrong-footed his opponent.

But he couldn’t hold off Ruud for too long, and nor could he get the better of a net-cord that just would not give him any luck.

Paire’s disastrous day was rounded off with the quarter point that transpired to be match point – trying another underarm serve and failing to get it over the net, meaning Ruud took the third quarter 16-10.

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