Djokovic A Winner In Paris Masters Title Defense Opener; Nadal, Fritz Wed.
Novak Djokovic opened his Paris Indoors Masters title defense with a victory over the big-serving, hard-charging Maxime Cressy 7-6(1), 6-4.
“It was very intense, just a lot of pressure,” said Djokovic who has won his last 10 matches. “When you play someone that serves this well first and second serve you don’t have much room to relax and maybe play kind of a softer few games. You just have to be on your toes all the time. Credit to him for serving big in some big moments. I had my chances first set to break him, second as well.
“A break came at the right time, perfect time actually. I was very pleased with the way I held my serve, didn’t face a break point,” he added, noting the fast conditions that made it even harder to return.”
Cressy finished with 15 aces but 10 double faults including two in the first set tiebreaker.
“It’s nice to see someone that comes in after fist and second serve,” added Djokovic. “It just gives a different look from the tennis fans’ point of view. I appreciate that, I respect that. It takes courage to play with this modern tennis nowadays this kind of style that is almost an ancient style. You don’t have many players that do that. Possibly he’s the only one at the top.”
Djokovic will have a day off until returning Thursday to meet Karen Khachanov.
Casper Ruud began his Paris Masters with a win defeating French veteran Richard Gasquet 6-1, 7-6(7). Andrey Rublev chopped down John Isner 6-2, 6-3 to strengthen his Turin chances.
Hubert Hurkacz stayed in the Turin chase with a straight set win over Adrian Mannarino. Denis Shapovalov and Pablo Carreno Busta were also winners.
In the match of the day, 19-year-old Holger Rune saved three match points to beat Stan Wawrinka 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3).
Rune, who came into his debut at the event having won 14 of his last 16, saved two match points in the second set serving 4-5 and the other serving 5-6 in the third.
Tomorrow, Rafael Nadal opens play looking for his first Paris title. Nadal hasn’t played a singles match since a US Open loss to Frances Tiafoe.
Taylor Fritz returns to face the retiring Gilles Simon and Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also in action.
“You need to be confident,” Nadal said. “You need to play aggressive. It’s a surface that if you are not serving well, that’s the toughest part. You need to have automatic things like this, because a couple of mistakes, it’s not like clay where you can have time to come back. If you lose your serve, then you are in big trouble.”
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