Monfils, Paire Power France To Opening ATP Cup Win

France starts 1-0 in Group A

Experience overcame youth on Saturday in Brisbane as French veterans Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire led the European country to a convincing 2-1 win against Chile in both teams' opening ATP Cup tie.

Monfils, 33, clinched the victory on day two of the inaugural 24-team event being held across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Chile's No. 1, 23-year-old Cristian Garin. The Frenchman ended 2019 with his second Top 10 year-end finish and was in mid-season form at Pat Rafter Arena, chasing down everything and routinely making Garin hit one more shot.

Monfils broke once in the opening set and rallied from a break down in the second set to get off the court in 80 minutes.

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“It was great today. I think he had a good period in the second set, actually a strong period. It shook me a little bit,” Monfils said. “But I think slowly I get back in shape. I had a good pre-season and then I had to stop because I hurt a bit myself during the pre-season. And then I come back a little bit stronger. And here I was hitting it quite a lot actually and it felt great.”

Benoit Paire gave France a 1-0 lead by remaining perfect against Nicolas Jarry. The 30-year-old Paire saved nine of 11 break points to win 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 and move to 3-0 against the 24-year-old Chilean.

Jarry led by a set and a break, but Paire broke twice in the second set to force a decider. He also navigated himself out of trouble late in the third set when, serving at 4-3, 40/40, he didn't let Jarry face a break point and held. Paire broke in the next game for the win.

Highlights: Paire Digs Deep Against Jarry

“I was able to play well a couple moments throughout the whole match, but when I had a little bit of more advantage, a set and a break, I lost a little of my head. I missed many things. I hesitated and doubted myself a little bit,” Jarry said. “I think that's just the key of where the match went.”

Paire earned a career-high 34 wins in 2019, a season that was highlighted by two of his three ATP Tour titles (Marrakech, Lyon).

“I feel good, I feel confident and really happy to play. So it was important for me, and I think it's important for the French team because we enjoy to play together. We are very happy to be here and, honestly, with the team it's not like a normal team, it's a more fun team,” Paire said.

In doubles, Garin/Jarry beat Nicolas Mahut/Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 6-2. “I think in this format you have to be 100 per cent every point,” Garin said. “We lost against France, who is a really good country. They have the best players in the world. And it's like that, we have to play every point as 100 per cent. Nico was very close today. I think I had my chances in the second set and the third set.”

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