WASHINGTON: Top-seeded Benoit Paire reached the third round of the ATP Winston-Salem Open Tuesday, beating Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3, 7-5.
France’s Paire, ranked 30th in the world, avenged a loss to India’s Gunneswaran at Indian Wells in March.
Paire broke Gunneswaran in the penultimate game, then capped the contest with his 14th ace on match point to book a round of 16 meeting with fellow Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who defeated American Bjorn Fratangelo 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
After enjoying a first-round bye, Paire was glad to get to work in the heat and humidity of North Carolina as part of his build-up to the US Open, which starts on Monday at Flushing Meadows in New York.
“Honestly, I like to play before the Slam,” he said. “I did the same in Lyon the week before Roland Garros and I won the tournament and after I made the last 16 at Roland Garros so it was good preparation.
“I’ll try to do the same — I’ll try to win a lot of matches here. I think it’s important for me to play before the US Open.”
In other matches, second-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov took on American Tennys Sandgren in the second round.
Sandgren, ranked 73rd in the world, is coming off a first-round victory over three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, who was playing just his second singles match since the Australian Open as he bids to return to peak form in the wake of career-threatening hip surgery.