January 18, 2020 / 5:09 AM / 2 months ago

Humbert beats Paire for maiden title in Auckland

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 8, 2019 France's Ugo Humbert reacts during his fourth round match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Ugo Humbert won his maiden ATP Tour title with a 7-6(2) 3-6 7-6(5) win over fifth seed Benoit Paire in a thrilling all-French final at the Auckland Classic on Saturday.

Humbert raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set of the Australian Open warm-up event before Paire staged a comeback to force a tie-breaker.

Rising 21-year-old Humbert regained the upper hand to take a 1-0 lead but looked nervy in the second set, allowing Paire to draw level.

Paire looked jaded in the decider, having played five three-setters throughout the week, but refused to throw in the towel when Humbert served for the championship at 5-3.

Paire fired three consecutive backhand winners and went on to force another tie-break before Humbert finally sealed victory to ensure he will jump inside the top 45 for the first time on Monday.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford

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