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Tennis news - Benoit Paire falls asleep during defeat to baffled Brit Cameron Norrie in Auckland

Paire falls asleep during defeat to baffled Norrie
By Eurosport

07/01/2019 at 14:11Updated 08/01/2019 at 16:13

Britain’s Cameron Norrie secured his spot in the second round of the ASB Classic in Auckland with a straight-sets 6-3 6-2 victory over sleepy Frenchman Benoit Paire.

But an otherwise routine tour match will perhaps be best remembered for the Frenchman Paire enjoying a SNOOZE during the match as the tennis appeared to get too much for him.

Paire fell asleep during one change of ends and even applauded the British player after being broken trailing 4-3 in the first set courtesy of two double faults.

Norrie admitted he was forced to concentrate more intensely due to the bizarre shenanigans of the world number 55.

Benoit Paire of France applauds during the first round match against Cameron Norrie of Great Britain during the ASB Classic at the ASB Tennis Centre on January 07, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Benoit Paire of France applauds during the first round match against Cameron Norrie of Great Britain during the ASB Classic at the ASB Tennis Centre on January 07, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.Eurosport

"I noticed it definitely," said world number 93 Norrie. "He's being very casual and then he can suddenly turn it on, break you quickly, be back in the match and serving well.

"I didn't want to fall into the trap of taking him lightly, when he's being casual. He's still serving well and hitting some drop shots extremely well, so it's tough to stay focused and he is playing quickly."

Paire had tweeted his displeasure at being forced to play on Monday after apparently making a 30-hour trip from India to New Zealand.

"30h of travel from my hotel room to Pune to Auckland, I left Saturday at 1:30 a.m. from the hotel I arrive Sunday at 3pm in Auckland, 7:30 am jet lag and I am scheduled on Monday!!!!!!!"

But he told local media in Auckland afterwards that he was giving his best during the match despite his antics.

"I was trying with what I could. Try to do a travel of 28 hours and play the day after and you will see it's not easy for the body. I tried to do my best but my best was not very high today.

"When you don't sleep and you travel 28 hours your body is not fit. It was not easy. After one break I tried to do my best and run 100 per cent but I felt something in the legs."

"I was not supposed to play on Monday but they forget to put me on Tuesday.

"I asked but they didn't receive the email from my agent. They said 'we didn't know'. That's why I played on Monday. They said they weren't sorry, they couldn't change the schedule because it was out."

Temperamental Paire smashed three £200 rackets as was he booed off court during defeat to Marcos Baghdatis at the Citi Open in Washington last August.

The 23-year-old Norrie saved all four break points faced as he raced to a 6-3 6-2 win in just under an hour.

Norrie, who also won 79 per cent of his first-serve points, broke his opponent once in the opening set and twice in the second for his first victory of 2019.

"He came out and served really well, I was obviously a little bit nervous, the first time playing on that court and it was a bit windy too," said Norrie.

"But I tried to enjoy it. I fought off some break points at the start of the first set and then managed to play a good game to break.

"I managed to out-tough him in the second and I freed up my forehand to be aggressive, to move the ball around the court, then I was quickly up to the drop shots he was playing, so a clean match I thought."

He will face either number seven seed Denis Shapovalov or Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the next round.

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