© Mutua Madrid Open

Beniot Paire hits 39 winners past No. 15 seed Lucas Pouille on Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Paire Ousts Pouille In Madrid Opener

Monfils plays Basilashvili later today for shot at Nadal

Benoit Paire struck 39 winners on Monday to beat fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-3 for a place in the Mutua Madrid Open second round.

The World No. 50, who will next play #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov, beat No. 15 seed Pouille for the first time in their fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting over 79 minutes. Pouille beat Paire en route to his fifth ATP World Tour title at the Open Sud de France in February, but is now winless in three clay-court matches.

Paire broke serve in the sixth game, then later converted his fourth set point chance with a backhand winner down the line. He took a 3-0 lead in the second set, but was broken for the first time when an over rule call went in Pouille’s favour in the fifth game. Paire was gifted a 5-3 advantage when Pouille struck a backhand long, then, in the next game, on his second match point opportunity hit a forehand winner.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, the No. 13 seed, improved to 11-4 on red dirt this year by winning 21 of 22 first-serve points for a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Adrian Mannarino of France. He awaits the Spanish winner of wild card Pablo Andujar, the recent Grand Prix Hassan II champion on the road back from injury, or Feliciano Lopez, who will begin his role at Tournament Director of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in 2019.

Also later today, Frenchman Gael Monfils takes on Nikoloz Basilashvili for a second-round test against World No. 1 and five-time titlist Rafael Nadal.

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