Taylor Fritz kept his slim Turin hopes alive on opening day at the Paris Masters with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Needing at least to reach the final just to have a chance, Fritz came from an early break down in the match to advance.
“Really happy, he’s a tough person to play against,” said Fritz. “He’s got weapons on both sides. He’s extremely quick as well, so there’s nowhere you can really play with a lot of safety. He makes a lot of crazy shots and he’s beaten me the past two times, so definitely good to just get out there, play a solid match, and get through it.
“Right now I’m just focused on kind of playing myself into the tournament,” he added. “I feel like any time this year that I’ve won a couple of matches into a tournament, then I’ve done well. So I’ll just try to focus on these early rounds.
“Turin is still in the picture, obviously, but there’s not much else I really could have done. I won Tokyo… Felix has played really, really well, so he deserves it, but I am going to try to steal his spot this week for sure.“
The American will now face home favorite Gilles Simon. The veteran Frenchman who is making the Paris Masters his final event kept his career going by rallying from a set down to defeat Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Murray led 6-4, 5-3 and was ready to close the door on Simon before the comeback began and then finished to the delight of the crowd after nearly three hours of play.
“It was a crazy match,” Simon said. “I was behind the whole match.
“He got tight at 5-3 and this time I managed to push, hold my serve and break him again. I tried to push on every game.
“It was really difficult physically, but it was difficult physically on his side. But I thought ‘Come on, I have a chance to beat him.’ It is not like I have the best record against Andy. I really wanted to win this one and I was really happy I was able to do it.”
John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Cameron Norrie, Alex De Minaur and Frances Tiafoe were also winners. Jannik Sinner fell to Marc-Andrea Huesler, Lorenzo Musetti upended Marin Cilic and Maxime Cressy eliminated Diego Schwartzman.
Cressy will now face 7-time champion Novak Djokovic on Tuesday. Also tomorrow, Isner is back to face Andrey Rublev who is fighting for a Turin berth. And Casper Ruud opens play against Richard Gasquet.
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