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Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

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Tennis fans have known for a few years that Benoit Paire has one of the most amazing two-handed backhands in the sport. Last year that backhand was on display quite often, as Paire worked his way up the rankings with a few solid performances, most notably his semifinal run at the Rome masters (but also his upset of Stan Wawrinka at last year’s Rogers Cup in Montreal).

WTA: Bouchard Shocked by American Qualifier in Montreal

But in 2014, sadly, Paire has only won back-to-back matches at the tour level on one occasion (all the way back in January at the Australian Open).

This week in Montreal, Paire came through qualifying for the first time this year, and then he took out Alejandro Falla in the first round.

Though he’s dropped from 26 at the start of the season to his current precarious perch at 97, the 25-year-old Avignon, France native showed tonight in his three-set loss to Stan Wawrinka that he still has the type of elite strokes that makes tennis fans drool over him.

This jaw-dropping beauty of a backhand is exhibit "A." Watch Paire demonstrate some serious fast-twitch capabilities by hauling off on a full sprint before sliding into contact, his right knee nearly scraping the hard court. Then, the Frenchman somehow manages to find a way to time the ball perfectly while simultaneously imparting the perfect spin and trajectory, sending his backhand up the line, with wicked topspin, past Wawrinka.

It’s a gorgeous shot. The kind that fans of Paire—and fans of gorgeous tennis— would like to see from him more often.