With a slim shot at the year-end No. 1 ranking, Daniil Medvedev opened his title defense at the Paris Masters with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Ilya Ivashka, breaking the Belarussian four times.
“The last time we played he beat me at Davis Cup. I’ve known him since the Futures and I knew that he’s a great player on the rise, so I knew it would not be easy,” said Medvedev who squandered a 5-1 first set lead. “At the beginning of the match, was good but in the middle of the match there were some things I could do better. The most important thing is the victory.
“It doesn’t matter how you play in the first round. The one who raises his level throughout the tournament is the one who will win it.”
Medvedev will next take on American Sebastian Korda who trounced an in-form Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-4.
“It’s always exciting to play someone for the first time,” Medvedev said. “We’ve never even practiced together. He just had a great win over Marin who is coming off a tournament win, so I’m very excited to play him tomorrow.”
Alexander Zverev kept pace with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Dusan Lajovic.
While Medvedev and Zverev advanced, six Top 12 seeds dropped. Taylor Fritz continued his strong fall stunning Andrey Rublev 7-5, 7-6(2). Fritz’s countryman Marcos Giron, who qualified, upset Diego Schwartzman in two breakers.
Lucky loser Dominik Koepfer made good again, this time topping Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 7-5.
In a big showdown, Carlos Alcaraz upset Jannik Sinner 7-6(1), 7-5. Sinner was hoping to do well in Paris to clinch a berth in the year-end finals in less than two weeks in Turin, Italy.
“I’m so happy for this win as Jannik was fighting for a spot at the ATP Finals,” said Alcaraz. “It’s my third Top 10 win of the year. I think Jannik and I will have a great rivalry in the future.
“I think that I played really, really aggressive, more than him. I think that was one of the keys.”
Alcaraz has also defeated the Italian at a challenger in 2019. With Hubert Hurkacz winning, Sinner now drops to ninth in the Turin Race. He’ll have to play next week in Stockholm to have a chance to make the 8-man field in his home country,
And in a big loss, Stefanos Tsitsipas had to retire with an elbow issue down 4-2 to Alexie Popyrin. The Greek isn’t worried with Turin just over a week away.
“I haven’t retired once in my life, and it was something that I had to do today,” Tsitsipas said.
“I felt the pain playing in the match, and I just don’t want for it to get worse than it is now.”
Cameron Norrie, Hubert Hurkacz, Grigor Dimitrov and Gael Monfils also were winners.
The home favorite Monfils will now match up with arch nemesis Novak Djokovic tomorrow. Monfils is 0-17 lifetime against the Serb. But the Frenchman injured his leg in a 3-set win over Adrian Mannarino, and could be a question mark to face Djokovic.
Zverev and Dimitrov also return tomorrow in a good third round meeting.
PARIS INDOORS THURSDAY SCHEDULE
Court Central Starts At 11:00 Am
R16 (LL) Dominik Koepfer v 7 Hubert Hurkacz
R16 10 Cameron Norrie v Taylor Fritz
R16 1 Novak Djokovic v 15 Gael Monfils
R16 16 Grigor Dimitrov v 4 Alexander Zverev
Not Before 7:30 Pm v
R16 Sebastian Korda v 2 Daniil Medvedev
R16 Carlos Alcaraz v (Q) Hugo Gaston
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