Year-end championship hopefuls Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov kept their campaigns alive on Wednesday at the Paris Masters, advancing into the third round.
The No. 7-seeded Raonic barely edged American qualifier Jack Sock in a big-serving contest 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(4), while the No. 9-seeded Dimitrov rolled over Pablo Cuevas 6-0, 6-3.
Raonic was “relieved” to get through the encounter after an eight-minute mid-match bathroom break where he struggled to find a suitable toilet in the stadium.
“Whoever the escort who took me was, took me into a bathroom that had no seats on the toilet,” Raonic said. “So I didn’t want to squat, so I kept saying, ‘Let’s go to another one,’ and we ended up going to the locker room.”
Raonic will next meet No. 11 Roberto Bautista Agut, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Richard Gasquet. Dimitrov’s next match will determine whether his year-end championship hopes come to an end when he meets No. 8 seed Andy Murray, a 6-3, 6-4 winner Wednesday against Julien Beneteau.
Murray with a win over Dimitrov would mathematically qualify for the year-end championships.
“[Dimitrov] still has a decent chance at getting into London, so he’d be pretty motivated,” Murray said. “It will be a good match for both of us.”
World No. 2 Roger Federer led the seeded winners with a tight 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-4 victory over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. He was joined by fellow Top 10-seeded players No. 2 Stan Wawrinka over Dominic Thiem 6-4, 7-6(4); No. 4 David Ferrer outlasting David Goffin 6-3, 2-6, 6-3; No. 6 Kei Nishikori coming from a set down to beat Tommy Robredo 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-3; and No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beating Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
“Chardy has made it hard for me in the past…I thought it could be tough, and it was,” said the 33-year-old Federer, who extended a 13-match winning streak. “Could have lost the first, could have won the second, but it went the other way. So I think as the match went longer, the better I actually started to play and created more opportunities.”
Federer will next meet French qualifier Lucas Pouille, who thrilled the home-country fans Wednesday with a 7-6(5), 7-6(7) upset over No. 16 seed Fabio Fognini.
“He has a beautiful technique, like all French players,” Federer said of Pouille, who had one career tour-level win entering the event. “He knows how to do everything. He knows how to serve. He knows how to go to the net. There is a good tennis school here in France, and you can see it in his game, too.”
Other winners were No. 12 Feliciano Lopez defeating American qualifier Sam Querrey 6-4, -4, and Frenchman Gael Monfils upsetting No. 13 John Isner 6-4, 7-6(4).
Thursday’s slew of competitive matches, a handful with year-end qualifying ramifications, will feature (5) Tomas Berdych vs. (12) Feliciano Lopez, (14) Kevin Anderson vs. (3) Wawrinka, (9) Dimitrov vs. (8) Murray, (10) Tsonga vs. (6) Nishikori, (Q) Pouille vs. (2) Federer, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Monfils, (4) Ferrer vs. Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, and (7) Raonic vs. (11) Bautista Agut.
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