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Stunning Stefanos Tsitsipas sets the standard

Stefanos Tsitsipas laid down a marker for the rest of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown field as he beat Benoit Paire three quarters to one to bring to an end a dramatic opening day of the new competition at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in Nice.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, UTS 2020 Stefanos Tsitsipas, UTS 2020

The world No 6 – The Greek God – played tennis from the heavens in the first two sets and though Paire made a fight of it by winning the third quarter, he held on to win 24-5, 22-6, 13-14, 15-10 to join the four other winners on day one of the revolutionary new format.

“First two (quarters) were phenomenal,” Tsitsipas said. “I got off to a very good start. In the third, he found his serve, his shots were deeper and he started missing less. Things got tense in the third (quarter). I had a lot of fun.”

Tennis from the heavens

In the first two quarters, Paire – The Rebel – had no answer to the brilliance of Tsitipas, who hit winner after winner on both sides. “I think he’s ready to win the US Open already,” Paire quipped.

Benoît Paire, UTS 2020

But the flamboyant Frenchman got himself going – slapping a couple of balls out of the court for good measure – and snatched the third quarter though and was right in touch in the fourth before Tsitsipas pulled away at the end to clinch victory.

Going into the new event, the brainchild of Patrick Mouratoglou and Alex Popyrin (the father of Alexei, who won the first ever match of the competition earlier on Sunday), Tsitsipas had joked: “I’m going to win the UTS because a God deserves a crown”.

And in the early stages, he was backing up his words with his tennis, which was stunning as he blasted winner after winner out of Paire’s reach.

Paire gets going

But as day one of the UTS showed, the format lends itself to comebacks and Paire raised himself to win the third quarter, thanks in part to a brilliant pass at 12-12 before he pinched it 14-13.

The fourth quarter included a little controversy as Tsitsipas was docked a second point for taking more than the allotted 15 seconds between points. But the umpire seemed to mix up the score and as Tsitsipas was allowed to serve again, prompting Paire to air his grievance with the umpire.

But Tsitsipas maintained his focus to win the quarter 15-10 and ease to a three quarters to one victory.

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