ATP Marrakech: Benoit Paire edges Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Andujar tops Simon


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ATP Marrakech: Benoit Paire edges Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Andujar tops Simon

Two weeks ago, Pablo Andujar and Benoit Paire played in Marbella Challenger final and they will fight for the ATP title in Marrakech as well after the semi-final triumphs on Saturday. The defending champion Pablo Andujar is through to the ninth ATP final following a dominant 6-1, 6-1 win over the 4th seed Gilles Simon in 74 minutes, scoring the third straight victory against the Frenchman.

Serving at 79%, the Spaniard faced only one break point and defended it to mount the pressure on the other side of the net that Gilles failed to endure, dropping almost 60% of the points in his games and getting broken five times from 11 chances he gave to Pablo.

It was the best possible start for Andujar who broke in the first game of the match after a weak volley from Simon, earning another one in game three to extend the advantage. Serving to stay in the set in the seventh game, Gilles suffered another break to hand the opener to Pablo who continued to charge in set number two, breaking in the fourth game with a forehand winner and again in game six to get closer to the finish line.

The Spaniard converted the fourth match point with a backhand down the line winner a few minutes later, racing into the final and hoping for more of the same in the title match. There, he will face Benoit Paire who ousted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, trailing 3-1 in the decider before taking the last five games for the sixth ATP final, the first since Metz 2017.

Jo won the previous three matches they played but he had no power to secure another one today, fading from the court after that early lead in the final set to propel Benoit into the final. Serving at only 42%, Paire did his best to keep the focus and defend the second serve, which wasn't always the case in the past, losing serve four times and erasing that deficit with five breaks under his belt to cross the finish line first.

Tsonga was the favorite and he opened the match in great style, earning a break in the second game after a huge forehand error from Paire, losing just six points on serve and closing the opener with another break in game eight thanks to a drop shot winner.

Benoit responded with a break at 15 in game three of the second set, controlling the pace and grabbing another break in game seven for a 5-2. Jo pulled one break back in the next game although that wasn't enough for a complete comeback, with Benoit sealing the set in game ten after a backhand winner that gave him the momentum before the decider.

There, Tsonga moved 3-1 up but it wasn't to be for him, getting broken at love in the next game when his forehand landed long and once again at 3-3 to push Benoit in front. Paire had the upper hand now, holding at love for a 5-3 and breaking Tsonga once again in the next game to cross the finish line first.