ATP Marrakech: Benoit Paire dethrones Andujar to complete perfect week

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ATP Marrakech: Benoit Paire dethrones Andujar to complete perfect week

Two weeks ago, Pablo Andujar defeated Benoit Paire in the final of Marbella Challenger, building the momentum before Marrakech where he was the defending champion after a great run in 2018. The Spaniard and the Frenchman advanced into another title match and this time it was Paire who had the upper hand, scoring a 6-2, 6-3 triumph in just 65 minutes for only the second ATP crown after Bastad 2015.

Competing in Marrakech and awaiting to receive Monte Carlo Masters main draw (he wouldn't get it), Benoit was on the verge of defeat against Aljaz Bedene in the opening round, trailing 5-4 with a break before claiming three straight games to pass the first obstacle.

Triumphs over Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Jaume Munar sent him into the semi-final where he erased the deficit against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the decider on Saturday to advance into the sixth ATP final and the first since Metz 2017.

There, Andujar stood no chance, creating only one break point that Benoit defended to mount the pressure on the other side of the net, pushing the defending champion to the limits on the second serve and securing three breaks that carried him over the top.

Pablo erased a break point in the second game with an ace to avoid an early setback but he needed more of those after a poor performance on the return that saw Paire sailing through all the service games in the opener. The Frenchman earned a break in game six after a forehand error from Pablo and a forced mistake from Andujar at 5-2 for another break and the opener.

The second set offered seven good holds on both sides and two games that determined the winner in the closing stages. A deep return pushed Paire 4-2 up and he saved a break point in the following game when Pablo netted a backhand, extending the lead and crossing the finish line with a forehand winner at 5-3 to celebrate the first ATP crown in almost four years.