Beaten in five sets (7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4), this Monday by Cameron Norrie in the 1st round of Roland-Garros, Benoît Paire did not go far from the exploit nevertheless against the 13th world. The Avignonnais, applauded when he left the court, lacked sharpness on the most important points.
The blow did not go far for Benoît Paire. Passed through the qualifications, opposed from the start to a member of the Top 15 author of an excellent start to the season, all with a confidence cursor probably not far from zero, the Avignonnais did not leave with the favors of the forecasters, this Tuesday on the Suzanne-Lenglen court under the sun for his tournament debut, against Cameron Norrie, who pulverized him at the last US Open. However, he did not miss much in the 149th world to sign the feat against the Briton and thus create the first sensation of the fortnight in the men’s table.
Unfortunately, for the 34-year-old French player having once again decided to work under the thumb of a coach (Antoine Hamard), despite a magnificent copy against the one who notably crunched Carlos Alcaraz this season, Norrie had the last word, after five sets (7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4) and more than three and a half hours of play (3h36). A defeat that should leave a bitter taste to Paire, who had been able to reverse the situation after losing the first set but paid a high price in this part for his almost chronic inability on Monday not to succeed in winning the most important points.
A lack of efficiency in key moments which allowed the world number 13 to always remain on the lookout, even when Paire clearly dominated him in the game, and thus to be able to take advantage of a possible drop in speed from the one who had won his place for the qualifications by finishing higher in the Race than his compatriot Hugo Gaston.
Norrie was right, because Paire, swept away in the fourth round, indeed wavered somewhat at the end of the fifth set and thus played into the game of the Britannnique, who will therefore be Lucas Pouille’s opponent in the 2nd round. Paire, for his part, will appreciate having been able to show a lot of seriousness on Monday, including on the court in terms of attitude (even if everything is not yet perfect). The former member of the Top 20 must also have greatly appreciated the warm support of his supporters, as well as the ovation they gave him when he left the court despite his defeat. But also aware that the feat had been close for their idol. Norrie’s joy after the match point attests to this.