I can’t believe my eyes, I really can’t. How can a player win a match so clear without playing anything?
Julien Benneteau is regarded as the most talented player on the tour without a title. Let’s face it, he is weak in singles. A champion in doubles, but mediocre at most in singles.
The Frenchman has a powerful serve and a decent forehand. That’s it. All he does is defend and return. He is not risking, not going for the lines, not varying his shots. He is slow and hits with less power than any other top player.
It is difficult indeed to play against a player without a certain rhythm, can turn out to be really confusing.
Besides some good wins with top players, I can’t see anything remarkable. Of course he has a good volley, he is a doubles specialist. But in singles he doesn’t come often to the net, because he doesn’t have too many weapons to build the point.
So Denis Shapovalov met the French veteran in the first round of the Paris Masters event. Benneteau defeated the Canadian earlier this year as well. But by now, I believed that the teenager got some more confidence.
Shapovalov was risking and going for the lines. Benneteau was just defending and trying to put as many balls back as he could. Playing safe, with patience. A quality that Shapovalov lacked in this match.
The Next Gen Star was going decisive for every point, but seemed nervous, without confidence and composure.
The 35-years-old was most of the times returning short, but Denis couldn’t make the most of it, as he smashed a lot of balls way outside the court.
The match had indeed some interesting rallies, in which Julien waited patiently every time.
The Frenchman didn’t do anything impressive, but showed his experience and kept it simple. He kept returning as many balls as he could and served well. He closed the match in 2 sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Elswhere, Hyeon Chung crushed Mischa Zverev, 6-0, 6-2, to set a meeting with the World Number 1, Rafa Nadal.
An inspired Richard Gasquet showcased his versatility and beautiful backhand to defeat his compatriot, Benoit Paire, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.