World no. 41 Richard Gasquet will not make a debut at the ATP 250 event in Chengdu next week, deciding to skip the first step of the Asian swing after the second-round loss to Benoit Paire at home in Metz. Paire defeated Gasquet 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 37 minutes for the second victory over the more experienced compatriot in nine encounters.
Benoit grabbed three breaks and lost serve twice to find himself over the top, sending 2004 finalist out from the competition. It seemed Richard could reach another title match in Metz, taking the opening set with a break in game six and after just five points lost behind the initial shot.
Out of sudden, Paire raised his level in set number two, serving well and taking the last three games for a 6-3, sending the clash into a decider where Richard forged a 4-2 advantage. It wasn't to be for him, though, dropping the remaining four games to push Paire into the quarters and end his run in the second round.
Gasquet is now 16-13 in 2019, kicking off the action only in Madrid after undergoing groin surgery in January. In June, the Frenchman dropped out from the top-50 for the first time in nine years after failing to defend 's-Hertogenbosch title, struggling to find form and suffering early losses in Halle, Wimbledon, Bastad, Hamburg, Kitzbuhel and Montreal!
His fortune changed in Cincinnati, scoring four victories to advance into the first Masters 1000 semi-final since Miami 2013. Matteo Berrettini halted him in the first round at the US Open and Gasquet will take some rest after playing those two matches at home in Metz, hoping for more good results in the remaining events of the season.