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Paire succumbs to heat, retires against eventual semi-finalist Moutet

A mentally fragile and physically drained Benoit Paire retired in the third quarter against Corentin Moutet during the second match of Saturday’s UTS2 schedule.

Benoît Paire, UTS 2020 Benoît Paire, UTS 2020

It was heat – not a tornado – that did in Benoit Paire at UTS2.

But The Tornado only added insult to injury.

Struggling physically throughout his round-robin match against an in-form Corentin Moutet, Paire retired in the third quarter on Saturday afternoon. The abrupt ending to The Rebel’s UTS campaign and Dustin Brown’s win in the first two quarters against Fernando Verdasco send “The Tornado” into the Final Four.

Too many mistakes for Paire

Paire started off decently enough. In the first quarter he changed an 11-9 deficit into a 13-11 lead with a pair of next point counts two successes. But Moutet returned the exact same favor to quickly regain his two-point advantage. The Rebel eventually used a steal serve card while trailing 16-14 in the final minute, but he would have had to win both of those points to stay alive and he managed to secure only one.

“I didn’t make some good choices; too many mistakes – with my backhand, a lot of mistakes,” Paire admitted. “But it’s okay, I can still win. I’m confident today.”

“It’s hot today,” The Tornado assured. “It’s really hot for both players. It will be a difficult match.”

Moutet pulls away

It did not, however, turn out to be a difficult match. Moutet dominated the second quarter, starting to pull away when he implemented a next point counts two card at 9-10. Winning both of those points propelled The Tornado to a 13-9 advantage. A blasted backhand return brought the 20-year-old to 14-10, which left Paire mentally out of it. The Rebel still had a winner counts three card in his pocket, but by the time he used it he was down 16-11. Needing to hit winners on two straight points to have a chance, Paire promptly double-faulted twice to end his chances.

“Minus-1,” the world No. 22 responded when asked what his energy level was on a scale of 1 to 10.

“The conditions are the same for both players,” Moutet explained. “The two-point card is stressful a little bit. He has a big serve; I have to win those points on his serve, so it’s not easy.”

Abrupt end

Maintaining his momentum, Moutet went from 6-5 to 9-5 in the third quarter with a winner counts three point off the net cord. A mentally distraught Paire promptly double-faulted to trail 10-5. Only heaping more problems on his opponent, The Tornado played a next point counts two card at 12-8. Two shanked forehands by Paire extended Moutet’s lead to an insurmountable 16-8. Abruptly, The Rebel rebelled one last time and suddenly retired from the match.

“I feel really, really good,” The Tornado said. “I’m proud of myself. I’m happy to do this today. I am practicing every day in the heat; I’m ready for this kind of match. It’s the same for both players. I have to adapt.”

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