ATP Estoril: Benoit Paire recovers from a set down to oust Kyle Edmund

Benoit Paire recovered from a set down to defeat Kyle Edmund 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 under the lights at the Millenium Estoril Open in the players first meeting.

The Brit clinches the first set

The first set was tightly contested, with both players remaining strong on serve; both only faced one break point. In the tiebreak, it was Edmund who looked the stronger of the two players, dictating the rallies as Paire missed a couple of poorly executed drop shots at the crucial time to hand Edmund two set points at 6-4. The British number three proceeded to hit a serve which was unreturned by the Frenchman, securing the first set 7-6(4).

The Frenchman ups his game in the second

Edmund faced adversity on serve in the fourth game of the second set when 15-30 down. The world number 89 responded with a couple of forehand winners before double faulting to squander the game point, allowing Paire to offload on his forehand wing and the put away an overhead to seal the first break of the match. A comprehensive serve to love, followed by an equally as an impressive game when returning Edmund’s serve once more secured him a commanding 5-1 lead in set number two.

The British number three was not finished in this set yet after getting a 0-30 advantage when Paire was serving for the set. The Frenchman recovered to 30-30 before Edmund hit a superb backhand return winner down the line as he went on to break his opponent for the first time in the match.

An inside-out forehand cross court winner followed by an unreturnable backhand cross court brought Paire his first set point opportunity in the eighth game. Edmund remained strong and stopped the rot on serve, recovering to hold to force the Frenchman to serve for the set for a second time. On this occasion, the Frenchman was up to the task, as he hit a crushing forehand winner and followed that with an big serve to secure the game to love and wrap up the second set 6-3.

A third set of missed opportunities for Edmund

The British number three did get over the disappointment of having dropped the second set. He did this through holding his opening service game to love and forcing Paire to go long and produce errors to earn a break point chance in the second game. Two break point opportunities came Edmund’s way, but on both occasions Edmund made unforced errors, finishing with a netted cross court forehand to allow the Frenchman to escape with the hold.

After letting that golden opportunity slip by, an Edmund double fault followed by a cross court forehand winner from Paire brought him a break point opportunity of his own. The British number three drew the error from the Frenchman to save the first, but a weak second serve landed short and was punished by a backhand winner down the line to secure the first break of the set for Paire.

Edmund was not finished yet as he continued to force the Frenchman into making errors, but once again when the break point chance came his way he squandered the opportunity through mistiming the return on the second serve, as Paire took a 3-1 lead.

Edmund only capitalized on two out of his nine break point chances in this match. Photo: Getty
Edmund only capitalized on two out of his nine break point chances in this match. | Photo: Getty

At 30-30 in game five Edmund hit what he thought would be an overhead smash winner, Paire though, was able to time the return perfectly, resulting in a laser like backhand winner down the line to bring up another break point chance. The British number three saved the point with a well-executed drop shot and cross court pass, but Paire was not to be denied, as his opponent produced more critical errors, handing the Frenchman a double break.

Three more break chances came and went for the world number 89 as he struggled to capitalize on the gifts presented to him by Paire. That being said, the world number 21 was able to escape in yet another service game as he moved within one game of the match.

As Paire did in the second set, he failed to serve for the set at the first attempt after an untimely double fault, but the Frenchman was not required to serve again as he broke Edmund to secure the three sets win 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 in 1 hour and 53 minutes.

Coming up

He goes on to face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the quarterfinals.