Former world No. 18 Benoit Paire admitted that he has a "mental problem" after blowing a big lead against German Dominik Koepfer at the Indian Wells Masters. Paire, now ranked at No. 53 in the world, clashed Koepfer in the Indian Wells first round and he appeared to be cruising toward a comfortable straight-set win.
Paire had a 6-2 6-2 lead but even that wasn't enough for him to win the match as Koepfer recovered to win 2-6 7-5 6-4. "I'm leading 6-2, 5-2 and the only thing I think about is that I can lose. I just have a mental problem.
It's hard to accept. This spiral is hard to break," Paire told L'Equipe.
Paire failed to close out the match
Paire made an outstanding start to the match as he claimed back-to-back breaks to take a 4-0 lead. Koepfer got one break back in the fifth game but Paire earned his third break of the set in the eighth game to comfortably win the opener.
After losing the first set, Koepfer broke Paire at the start of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. However, Koepfer's lead was short-lived as Paire responded with back-to-back breaks to win four games in a row and take a 6-2 5-2 lead.
Paire had four match in the ninth game of the second set but failed to close out the match as Koepfer broke back. After getting the break back, Koepfer broke Paire again in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead and served out for a decider in the following game.
Koepfer started the third set with a break but Paire broke back in the sixth game to level the set at three games apiece. However, it didn't take long for Koepfer to claim another break as he broke Paire in the seventh game and served out for the match in the 10th game. It was Paire's sixth consecutive loss. Paire will now focus on the Miami Masters.