Clinical Moutet clinches title
Comes up with a thorough gameplan against Harris
The 19-year-old Corentin Moutet came into the tournament as the second seed and, on Sunday, he showed why Roger Federer invited the Frenchman to come and hit with him in Dubai in December last year, with a clinical 6-3, 6-3 win over Andrew Harris to clinch the ATP Chennai Open Challenger here.
The left-hander systematically deconstructed Harris’ game and from very early on it was evident the Frenchman had his gameplan worked out. In the first set, both players held their serves till 3-3 before Moutet got the break in the seventh game. It did not help at this point, Harris was struggling with his first serve.
In that game, he started with a doublefault before he tried to overcompensate, committing a couple of forehand errors before Moutet produced a winner to take the break.
The Frenchman then broke again to take the set 6-3, targeting the one-handed backhand of Harris, imparting spin and high-bouncing strokes to induce errors.
This and the sturdy defence displayed by Moutet prompted the Indian tennis legend and TNTA president Vijay Amritraj to quip that the Frenchman reminded him of a young Rafael Nadal.
One of the best points of the match came at deuce early in the second set on the Harris serve with Moutet pushing the Australian on the backhand flank before sending in a deep return to which Harris had no answer.
In the fourth game of the set, Moutet took the strategy to the next level as Harris committed three errors off his backhand, going down 0-4 in no time.
Harris then won the next two games but the teenager quickly found his bearings back and held his next two service games easily to claim his third challenger title.
Speaking after the match Harris conceded he was outplayed tactically saying, “He knew what he had to do from the start and he executed it well. I could have used my slice backhand a bit more, but it wasn’t to be.”
“My game plan for winning the match was not to out-rally him because that would be playing into his strengths. I had to play aggressively,” he added when asked if he had to take a lot more risks with his forehands.
Top prize: Corentin Moutet faced little resistance in the summit clash.