Chennai Open ATP Challenger: Moutet reigns supreme

Second seed Corentin Moutet dished out a stunning performance to beat Australian Andrew Harris in straight sets and clinch the Chennai Open ATP Challenger 2019 title on Sunday.

Corentin Moutet poses with the Chennai Open Challenger 2019 title after beating Andrew Harris in the final.   -  R. Ragu

There’s mystery to Corentin Moutet. His cagey and neutral statements about himself could easily be mistaken for passivity than a meticulous media strategy planned out by his coach Emmanuel Planque - Lucas Pouille’s former coach. Hearts go out to the desperate press searching for a quote from the 19-year-old, enamoured by the way he blew away Australian Andrew Harris in straight sets in the Chennai Open Challenger final on Sunday.

Moutet made short work of Harris, who beat top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the semifinals. Standing deep in his court - the linesmen almost getting in his way - Moutet dished out a supreme defensive display, outplaying Harris 6-3, 6-3. The Australian seemed to have got his tactics wrong in his first Challenger final. But Moutet would deny he employed any tactics at all.

“The tactic was to try to do my best and be better than him. That’s it,” he said after the match.

Corentin Moutet and Andrew Harris exchange pleasantries after their final at the Chennai Open Challenger 2019 on Sunday.   -  R. Ragu

 

Harris was having troubles in his service games in the first set as the Frenchman looked brilliant on returns, going deep into rallies to set his opponent up. With a clever forehand, Moutet broke 4-3 in the first set. Harris was falling to too many unforced errors on his forehand and his single-handed backhand couldn’t deal with Moutet’s backhand slices as well as he’d expected. In the ninth game, he broke Harris once more to take the set 6-3.

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Harris was facing a completely different challenge from his semifinal. “(Prajnesh) Gunneswaran played flatter to the court with a deeper serve, but Corentin played more high, there was a little more shape and high off the baseline. It was a tough match up,” he said.

This was Andrew Harris' first-ever appearance in the final of a Challenger event.   -  R. Ragu

 

Moutet toyed with Harris in the second set. He generated supreme topspin to counter an attacking Harris, and sent him the wrong way multiple times before unleashing a sweet forehand down the line. Harris was forced into errors as Moutet broke twice to go 4-0 up and there seemed to be nothing left in the Australian’s armoury. He threatened a late comeback as, with a double fault from Moutet, he broke for 1-4 and held serve in the next game.

Harris saved three match points in the final set, somehow managing to hold off the inevitable, but as another backhand slice hit the net, Moutet wrapped his third Challenger title in just over an hour.

Result

Corentin Moutet bt Andrew Harris 6-3, 6-3