Frenchman Benoit Paire snapped a three-match losing streak on Monday at the Sofia Open as he overcame seventh seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4, 7-5 to reach the second round.
The World No. 49, who was making his debut at the ATP 250 event held of indoor hard courts, broke serve five times and played aggressively from the baseline to advance after one hour and 37 minutes.
“[I am] happy about the win,” Paire said in his on-court interview. “It was not easy. Alejandro is a very good player, so I had to be focused on my game. I had to serve well and do my best and that is what I did and I am very happy and proud of my game today.”
Earlier this season, the 32-year-old reached the quarter-finals on clay in Cordoba and Hamburg, before he advanced to the last eight in Cincinnati. Paire’s run at the Western & Southern Open marked the first time he had reached the quarter-finals at an ATP Masters 1000 event since Rome in 2013.
“I played well in the first game, it was good for my confidence,” Paire added. “The most important thing is to stay on my game and stay focused. I was solid today so I am very happy.”
Paire now leads Davidovich Fokina 1-0 in their ATP Head2Head Series and will next face World No. 89 Emil Ruusuvuori or Nur-Sultan finalist James Duckworth.
Davidovich Fokina, who reached his first major quarter-final at Roland Garros this year, has earned a career-best 23 tour-level victories this season.