Frenchman Benoît Paire won the 35th edition of the Hassan II Tennis Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon by winning the final on the central court of the Royal Tennis Club of Marrakech against defending champion Spaniard Pablo Andujar.
Aged 29, the Tricolore, 69th worldwide, has won the title of this ATP tournament (250 points) on clay, placed under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI, dominating Andujar (33 years, 70th worldwide), by two sets to zero (6-2 / 6-3).
With this coronation, the Avignonnais, imperial and untouchable throughout this match, won the second title of his career, after that won in July 2015 in Bastad (Sweden) against another Spanish: Tommy Robredo.
Thanks to this victory, Paire also joins other French champions who have already won the title: Julien Boutter (2003), Paul-Henri Mathieu (2007) and Gilles Simon (2008).
For his sixth final on the circuit, including four lost in Belgrade in 2012, Montpellier in 2013, Tokyo in 2015 and Metz in 2017, Paire has largely dominated his opponent of the day, Pablo Andujar, triple winner of this tournament (2011 , 2012 and 2018), who beat him at the end of last March in the final of the tournament challenger Marbella (Spain) by two sets to one (4-6, 7-6, 6-4).
In a statement to media, the Tournament Director, former Moroccan champion Hicham Arazi, said he was “very satisfied” with the running of this 35th edition of the Hassan II Tennis Grand Prix, while expressing his thanks to the President of the tournament. Royal Tennis Club of Marrakech (RTCMA), Aziz Tifnouti and his staff, for all the efforts made throughout this tennis week in the city ocher.
While expressing his heartfelt thanks also to the general public, who flocked in large numbers to the RTCMA courts, he expressed his great satisfaction with regard to this “very beautiful final” between the defending champion, the Spaniard Pablo Andujar, and the Frenchman Benoît Paire, adding that this confrontation made it possible to crown “a handsome winner”.
“I would like to congratulate Benoît Paire for the great tennis he has produced, and I want to thank and congratulate Pablo Andujar as well because he is a magnificent player who has already won the Hassan II Grand Prix three times,” he said.
Arazi said he was very satisfied with the painting of this 35th edition, which was “the most beautiful” since the creation of the Hassan II Grand Prix, with the presence of big names in world tennis, including the German Alexander Zverev (3rd world) and Italian Fabio Fognini (17th in the world), in addition to France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon.
For his part, Benoît Paire said in a statement to the press, at the end of the meeting, that this week went very well for him, while saying “very happy” to have hooked, of to have escaped and to have won in the final after having played great difficult matches, especially in the first round and in the semifinal against fellow Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“It’s very good for trust. It feels good to be in the final. I played a great game against Pablo Andujar. It’s very encouraging for the rest of the season,” he said.
“I love Morocco where I come regularly to play tennis: previously in Casablanca and now in Marrakech, and I will come back next year to defend my title,” he added.
Pair said that “by winning this final, I managed to climb in the ATP ranking, and I will find myself in the top 50,” noting that he will try to “persevere on the same note to win a lot of other games and getting closer to my top ranking that was 18th.”
The duo of Austria’s Jürgen Melzer and Croatia’s Franko Skugor won Saturday’s men’s doubles final against Dutchman Matwé Middelkoop and Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen in two sets from scratch (6-4, 7-6).
Organized by the Moroccan Royal Tennis Federation, the 35th edition of the Hassan II Tennis Grand Prix has surpassed this year by hosting a plateau worthy of the biggest tournaments on the ATP circuit, with the world number 3, the German Alexander Zverev.
Endowed with a prize of 560.000 euros, of which nearly 90.000 euros to the winner, this tournament was placed under the direction of the former Moroccan tennis champion Hicham Arazi. This tournament returns to its city of birth, since the Grand Prix Hassan II of tennis took its marks in the city ocher 35 years ago before moving to Casablanca: it returns to the sources as to take root and become stronger and bigger.