Benoit Paire, 30, was a class act after suffering a heartbreaking Auckland final loss as he was full of praise for the rising French star Ugo Humbert. Humbert, ranked at No. 57 in the world, edged out world No. 24 Paire 7-6 (2) 3-6 7-6 (5) to lift his maiden ATP title at the age of 21.
Paire worked his way back into the third set but ultimately fell short as he recovered from a break down and also saved a match point in the 10th game, before losing the tie-break. Paire didn't clinch a single straight-set win in Auckland throughout the week as he needed three sets to beat Jannik Sinner, Thiago Monteiro, John Millman and Hubert Hurkacz.
"I want to congratulate Ugo on winning his first title on Tour, but not the last, for sure,” Paire said, per the ATP Tour. “I enjoyed this week a lot. Even this final was something special. I lost, but everything is fine.
[Ugo] played some good points. Everyone was having fun and enjoying the match, so that’s the most important thing."