Chennai Open: Agut cruises past Benoit Paire

Agut, the second seeded Spaniard, didn’t really have to do anything special against the Frenchman in the second semifinal of the day. As long as the Spaniard kept the ball in play, Paire ensured his opponent won with the humungous amount of unforced errors he was making.

Bautista Agut in action against Benoit Paire at the Aircerl Chennai Open.   -  S. R. Raghunathan

Roberto Bautista Agut crushed an erratic Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-3 at the Centre Court on Saturday to set up a summit clash with Russian Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Israel’s Dudi Sela 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the other semifinal at the Chennai Open on Saturday.

READ: >Medvedev clinches victory in a thriller

Agut, the second seeded Spaniard, didn’t really have to do anything special against the Frenchman in the second semifinal of the day. As long as the Spaniard kept the ball in play, Paire ensured his opponent won with the humungous amount of unforced errors he was making.

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For a brief period in the second set and only after conceding two more service games and a 4-0 lead did the Frenchman show any signs of his exquisite shot-making skills.

Those deceptive top spins made an appearance, those seething forehand returns reached their targeted corners as Benoit looked set for a comeback, akin to Agut’s great escape against Mikhail Youzhny the previous night. They were all on display for the shortest duration.

After thwarting Agut, the 2013 finalist, from taking the breakpoint opportunity and retrieving a break of serve to narrow the deficit to 4-2, Paire played a good service game to make it 3-4. But Agut upped his game that very minute and put to rest any hope of a comeback from Paire. It took the 28-year-old Spaniard just 68 minutes to progress to the final and take his head-to-head record against the Frenchman to 6-0.

“I played a solid match and had the match under control. I wanted to be calm, play more solid tennis. I wanted to make him play a lot of balls and that worked,” Bautista Agut said after the match.

Benoit Paire has always been known to lose his cool at the drop of a hat. It was no different on Saturday. With nothing going his way, the mercurial Frenchman received an official warning for throwing a water bottle on the court soon after dumping his racquet forcefully during the changeover period. With the loud and boisterous Chennai crowd often getting to his nerves during his serves, despite the crowd being firmly behind the entertaining Frenchman, he was seen bellowing at the chair umpire to calm things down. It didn’t work, just like his game. It wasn’t meant to be his day after all.