Sat, 17 Apr 2021

Maverick French tennis player Benoit Paire controversially crashed out of the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires on Friday after spitting on court during his match against Francisco Cerundolo and arguing with the umpire.

The 31-year-old boiled over in the second set when one of Cerundolo's serves was deemed an ace.

Paire, the third seed at the tournament, showed umpire Nacho Forcadell a mark in the clay where he believed the ball had landed but to no avail.

Enraged, Paire spat on the mark, protested and swore before he was given a warning.

The third seed was then docked a point a couple of games later for spitting again.

After Cerundolo won the set 6-3, the 22-year-old Argentine took control of the tie to move into a 5-1 lead in the decider.

Fury

Paire, serving to stay in the match, though appeared to give up.

At match point down, he delivered his last serve while a ballboy was still on court retrieving the ball from his duff first service. It veered off target to give the world number 137 a berth in the last eight.

"I kept my focus throughout the game and took advantage of opportunities at a tense moment," said Cerundolo.

Soon after his elimination, Paire left a message on social media showing his multimillion dollar career earnings with the words: "In the end it's useful to be useless".

Cerundolo, who is 107 places beneath the 29th ranked Paire, will face the sixth seed Pablo Andujar in the quarter-finals after the 35-year-old Spaniard saw off Gianluca Mager from Italy in straight sets.

"A hard game awaits me with many rallies," said Cerundolo of his clash with Andujar.

"My opponent is solid and clean with all his shots. I have to play to the maximum. It's all I can do."

Originally published on RFI

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