SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS, April 8, 2017
Top seed Benoit Paire and fourth favourite Aljaz Bedene will go head to head in Sunday’s final of the inaugural €64,000 Verrazzano Open held at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Sophia Antipolis.
Bedene eased past Italian Marco Cecchinato, winning 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday. The World No. 93 from Great Britain lost his service only once and capitalized on five of his 10 own break point chances to advance after one hour and 11 minutes. It was Bedene’s second win in as many meetings between the two players. The Ljubljana native could win his second ATP Challenger title of the season, following his triumph at the Irving Tennis Classic last month.
Paire defeated Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia 6-4, 7-6. The 27-year-old Frenchman fired nine aces, winning 76 per cent of his first service points to seal victory in one hour and 21 minutes. Paire will appear in his first final in 2017, his first title match since lifting the trophy on home soil in Mouilleron-Le-Captif in November 2015.
Bedene and Paire will meet for the fifth time with their head-to-head record tied at 2-2. Their last encounter took place earlier this season in Chennai with the Frenchman winning in the quarterfinals in straight sets.
Later the day, Kovalik was back in action, teaming up with Uladzimir Ignatik from Belarus to reach the doubles final. The tandem fought past the all-Dutch-combination of Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop, rallying 2-6, 7-5, 10-5 in one hour and 29 minutes.