Frenchman Benoit Paire overcame a sluggish start to oust countryman and wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday, claiming a spot in the Grand Prix Hassan II final at Marrakesh, Morocco.
Tsonga took the first set in 33 minutes and went up a break in the third set, but Paire responded by winning the final five games of the deciding set, including three on Tsonga’s serve. The last came on Paire’s fifth match point, after he squandered triple-match point and another chance in deuce.
In the final, Paire will face Spaniard Pablo Andujar, a three-time champion of the event who downed fourth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-1 earlier Saturday.
Andujar, who needed just 74 minutes to clinch victory, won the event last year after claiming back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, when it was held in Casablanca, Morocco. Paire has won all three ATP meetings between the two, the most recent of which came in 2013. However, just two weeks ago Andujar beat Paire for the Marbella ATP Challenger Tour title.
U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship
Eighth-seeded American Sam Querrey was unable to continue a streak of four straight years with an American in the final, falling 7-6 (2), 6-2 to Chile’s Christian Garin in Houston.
Garin broke Querrey, who reached the event’s final in 2010 and 2015, in the match’s first game and took four points on Querrey’s serve in the tiebreaker. In the second set, he converted his only two break-point opportunities, including one to end the match.
Garin’s opponent will be Norway’s Casper Ruud, who downed Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan 7-5, 6-2 to reach his first career final. Elahi Galan had beaten Australian seventh seed Jordan Thompson 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 earlier Saturday in the quarterfinals.
Garin, 22, and Ruud, 20, have met once before in ATP play, with Garin winning 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals at Sao Paulo in early March.
—Field Level Media