ATP Miami Open: Nicolas Mahut downs Guido Pella to book a spot in the fourth round

ATP Miami Open: Nicolas Mahut downs Guido Pella to book a spot in the fourth round

Frenchman Nicolas Mahut defeated Guido Pella in straight sets to advance to the fourth round.

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On Grandstand, Nicolas Mahut defeated Guido Pella 6-4, 6-3 in one hour 16 minutes to seal a place in the Miami Open fourth round. 

Nico Mahut grabs only break to go a set ahead

The first four service games of the set saw no breaks of serves with both players holding until 2-2. Down 15-30 after a few errors, Pella then threw in a double fault which gave the Frenchman double break point opportunities. Mahut hit a backhand return towards the corner of the net with Pella playing the ball back into his opponents hands, who volleyed and sealed the break. This was followed by a hold of serve from the 35-year-old who took a 4-2 and looked solid up till now. After his remarkable win over Dimitrov a couple of days ago, Pella was struggling to deal with Mahut and still down a break, he would give everything he had down 5-4.

Nicolas Mahut strikes a backhand shot (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Nicolas Mahut strikes a backhand shot (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

With the score at 30-all, the Argentinian brought up a break point thanks to a double fault from the world number 55. An unforced error from Pella sent the game to deuce but once again, he would bring up a break point. The Frenchman would save the break point with a bullet forehand and then go up a set point. Mahut failed to close the set out with the world number 158 firing a forehand towards Mahut. A third and final break point would be missed from the Argentine. The Frenchman would see a second set point go begging but eventually after a 9-minute game, he wrapped up the set 6-4 to much relief. 

Mahut starts and finishes strong to advance

The Frenchman who won the first set, started the second set strong. At 1-1, triple break points arrived with Mahut pushing the Argentine further back to force the error. The 26-year-old hit an unreturnable serve to save one break point but couldn't stop the 35-year-old pushing through who sealed the game with his opponent smashing a forehand long. A comfortable hold of serve would do the job for Mahut, going up 3-1.

Nicolas Mahut plays a return shot (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Nicolas Mahut plays a return shot (Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The Frenchman would pile more pressure on the Argentinian who seemed to be struggling to deal with the Frenchman. Facing double break points, Pella dug in, saved both of them and held serve for 3-2 to avoid digging a deeper hole in the match. Still down a break, the 26-year-old was left facing to stay in the tournament at 5-3. An array of errors followed by an untimely double fault gave a match point to Mahut at 40-30. First time of asking, the Frenchman won the match and sealed a place in the fourth round with a booming forehand winner. 

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