Moutet hardly broke a sweat to dispatch the World No. 573, landing 69% of his first serves and winning an impressive 80% first-serve points. But one of the key shots in his toolbox was the use of the underarm serve. Moutet served just one double fault during the match, pointing to the effectiveness of the shot.
The unorthodox Frenchman maximized on that unconventional serve to win cheap points from the unwatchful Tao Mu, and he was highly successful in that regard. He saved three of four break points in the match to reach the second round.
The underarm serve is a strategic shot in tennis that quite a handful of players have become accustomed to deploying on regular use. Nick Kyrgios is often credited for pioneering the underarm serve, but its introduction to tennis can be traced back to the early years of the sport.
While it is generally perceived as a poor sportsmanship tactic by some sections of fans, it is still perfectly legal to use it. According to the ITF rulebook, a serve is defined as the first shot in a point where the serving player tosses the ball in the air and hits it to land in the service box on the opposite – diagonal – side of the court.
It doesn't categorically state that the trajectory of the toss has to be high or low, meaning that players are at will to serve the ball close to the ground rather than the traditional overhand serve. After his win, Moutet joked that he'd use the underarm serve in each of his service games as it is better than his regular serve.
"Yeah, I'm working hard on it. I think I have to do more. It's working actually better than my normal serve. So I think I should do it a lot. I think maybe every point in the future."