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Benoit Paire, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Showcase Football Skills During Match Rally at Halle Open

French tennis players Benoit Paire and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga engaged in a footballing exchange on court during their first round match at Halle.

News18 Sports

Updated:June 18, 2019, 10:52 PM IST
Benoit Paire, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Showcase Football Skills During Match Rally at Halle Open
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Benoit Paire showed a touch of their footballing skills at Halle Open. (Photo Credit: Twitter/Tsonga)

Halle Westfalen: France's Benoit Paire and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga engaged in a fun-filled footballing rally during their first round match at Halle Open on Tuesday and left the spectators in splits.

Tsonga beat Paire 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the second round, where he will face Roger Federer but it was their footballing skills that took centre stage on Tuesday.

The move started when Paire served to Tsonga but dropped his racquet on the court by accident. When Tsonga returned his serve, Paire controlled the ball with his feet and squared it towards Tsonga within the line of the tennis court.

Tsonga then controlled the ball with his chest and feet and kicked it back towards Paire, who then showcased his own chest control of the ball and kicked it back.

Tsonga then headed the ball to control it and shot it back at Paire, who then attempted an ambitious scissor kick and ended up falling at the back.

Along with the players, the entire audience also broke into laughter with the exhibition like moment at Halle.

ATP's Twitter handle posted the video of the same and connected it France's 2018 FIFA World Cup victory, captioning, "That's why they're the world champs."

After the win, Tsonga said it would be "something special" to face Roger Federer in the second round. At that point of time, Federer had not played his match yet.

"It is always something special to play Roger," said Tsonga.

Last year's winner Borna Coric eased to a straight sets win over Spain's Jaume Munar in his first-round tie, winning 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to set up a second-round tie with Portugal's Joao Sousa.

Home favourite Jan-Lennard Struff also reached the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Serbia's Laslo Djere, his first ever singles victory in Halle.

"I used to live nearby. I would come here every year and lose, so it is great to have finally won," said Struff.

There was to be less joy for the Halle crowd as Germans Mats Moraing, Peter Gojowczyk and Rudolf Molleker were all knocked out on Tuesday.

Moraing lost 4-6, 6-7 (4/7) to Italy's Andreas Seppi while Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky came from behind to beat Molleker 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2.

Gojowczyk was crushed 6-3, 6-4 by France's Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet will face seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round after the Spaniard cruised to a 7-6 (12/10), 6-0 victory over American Taylor Fritz.

Elsewhere, Belgium's David Goffin thrashed eighth seed Guido Pella 6-1, 6-1.

(With AFP inputs)

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