When Roger Federer almost lost to Benoit Paire in Halle



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When Roger Federer almost lost to Benoit Paire in Halle

World no. 1 and nine-time champion Roger Federer advanced to his 16th quarter-final from as many appearances in Halle in 2018. Roger worked hard to score a tight 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 victory over Benoit Paire in an hour and 58 minutes.

It was the 61st win for Roger at one of his favorite tournaments and the 23rd triumph in 25 matches played that season to extend his impressive streak a couple of weeks before turning 37. Roger grabbed the 18th consecutive victory on grass and 170th overall on the fastest surface, moving closer to the Open era record of Jimmy Connors.

It was their sixth meeting and the sixth win for Roger, who lost a set against Benoit for the first time before bouncing back in the third to claim the victory in the deciding tie break. Paire fought well and gave his best to keep composure and match Federer's pace.

He fended off two match points on serve in the 12th game before falling short in the tie break after having two match points at 6-5 and 7-6! Benoit had to stay in touch with Roger in the opening five or six games, and he did that.

The Frenchman served well and created a break chance in game seven that Roger saved with a service winner. Paire had a game point a few minutes later, but Federer found a way to stay in contention. The Swiss earned a break that pushed him 5-3 up and fired a service winner in the next one to wrap up the opener in 27 minutes.

Roger's level suddenly dropped in set number two, serving at 57% and giving away almost half of the points in his games to find himself 4-0 down, a rare scene in his encounters on grass.

Roger Federer had to dig deep against Benoit Paire in Halle 2018.

He pulled one break back in game five, but Benoit brought the set home with an ace at 5-3 to set up a deciding set for the first time against the Swiss.

Paire saved a break point in game eight with a service winner and faced an ultimate test at 5-6 when Federer created those match points. The Frenchman erased them with unreturned serves, and the match went into a deciding tie break, the best way to determine the winner.

Benoit led 5-3 and created a match point at 5-5 with a backhand winner. Roger denied it with a valiant forehand attack and had to play against another at 6-7, this time on the return. Federer repelled it with a deep return that Paire failed to control.

Roger converted his third match point at 8-7 when Benoit's forehand landed long, surviving one of his most severe tests in Halle and staying on the title defense course.