Benoit Paire loses; No French male players in Rome for first time since 1971

Benoit Paire and two other French players suffered losses in the Rome Masters qualifying and for the first time since 1971 there will be no French male players in a Rome main draw. Gael Monfils, the top-ranked French tennis player, made the main draw cut for Rome but he pulled out of the tournament.

On Saturday, three French players were in action in the opening round of Rome qualifying.

Adrian Mannarino was the first Frenchman to take on the court but he didn’t have much success as he suffered a straight-set defeat to Tallon Griekspoor. Next on the court was Ugo Humbert, who was also beaten in straight sets by Brandon Nakashima.

France’s last hope was Paire but the former world No. 18 failed to deliver as he was ousted by Dusan Lajovic in straight sets.

Pair loses to Lajovic

Lajovic, ranked at No. 77 in the world, saw off Paire 6-2 7-5 in the Rome qualifying first round.

Pair actually made a good start to the match, breaking Lajovic in the opening game of the match. Lajovic quickly responded, having broken Paire in the second and fourth games to overturn the early deficit and take a 4-1 lead.

Lajovic had a chance to claim his third consecutive break in the sixth game but Paire saved and reduced the deficit to 4-2. Lajovic didn’t get his third break in the sixth game but broke Paire for the third time in the eighth game to seal the first set.

After winning the first set, Lajovic got off to a fast start to the second set as he took an early 3-0 lead. Down a set and a break, Paire refused to quit as he broke back Lajovic in the fifth game. Lajovic blew an early second set break but broke Paire again in the 12th game, when the Frenchman was serving to stay in the match.

A week earlier, Paire won two qualifying matches in Madrid to qualify for the main draw, before losing to Diego Schwartzman in the first round.

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