Novak Djokovic gets rid of rust with Paris Masters victory | Tennis News
In his first singles match since missing a Grand Slam of the calendar year, Novak Djokovic beat Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the second round of the Paris Masters on Tuesday.
Djokovic, ranked number 1, showed signs of rust with some unforced errors in the opener, but he put pressure on his Hungarian opponent with the quality of his serve returns, breaking him twice in the first set. .
The 20-time Grand Slam champion abandoned serve with a forehand error to hang out 2-1 in the second set. Fucsovics evened the score set when Djokovic hit a long return.
Clearly not at the top of his game, a roaring Djokovic struck the air after whipping up a forehand pass to maintain serve in Game 3 of the final set. He snapped for a 4-2 lead when Fucsovics sent a backhand long before converting his second match point with a forehand winner.
“It was a great fight,” said Djokovic. “We kind of pushed ourselves to the limit. It was a great opening game for me, I’m very happy.
Djokovic could clinch the No.1 end-of-year ranking in Paris before the end of the season and break the tie with Pete Sampras with a seventh No.1 place at the end of the year.
“Now it’s about finding that intensity of the game and playing for more points,” said Djokovic. “And the more points I play, you know, the more games I play, I’ll get better.”
The top-ranked Serbian has won the Paris Masters trophy five times and could break the tie with Rafael Nadal for the most Masters 1000 titles won. Nadal and Djokovic have won 36 Masters 1000 titles each, eight more than Roger Federer.
Djokovic earned a victory ahead of a calendar year Grand Slam when he lost to Daniil Medvedev at the US Open in September.
Also on Tuesday, Felix Auger-Aliassime remained in contention for a place in the ATP Finals, beating Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.
Ninth seed Auger-Aliassime had two double faults and sent a wide forehand to allow Mager to serve the opening set. But he equalized the match when Mager double faulted on a set point in the second.
Auger-Aliassime then beat Mager twice in the third.
“I struggled with my pace early in the game. I didn’t hit enough first serves so I had a bit of pressure on my second serve, ”said Auger-Aliassime. “I bounced back in the second set. I tried to find solutions in the returns, by changing my positions, by varying my returns. And after such a good comeback, I created chances and won the second set and then I finished really well.
Qualifying for the ATP Finals would cap off a good season for the 21-year-old Canadian, who reached the semi-finals at the US Open and the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. He also reached the final at the Murray River Open in Melbourne and the Stuttgart Open in Germany.
Djokovic, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini have already qualified for the ATP Finals. Auger-Aliassime, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner, Hubert Hurkacz and Cameron Norrie are among the players hoping to join the eight-way tournament.
US players Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz also qualified for the second round, as did Karen Khachanov of Russia, Carlos Alcaraz of Spain and James Duckworth of Australia.
Opelka, the finalist in Toronto, scored 19 aces beating Serbian Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 7-6 (4), while Fritz defeated Italian Lorenzo Sonego 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Paul beat Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-3, 6-4.
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