Novak Djokovic shakes off rust with win at Paris Masters

In his first singles match since lacking out on a calendar-year Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic beat Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 within the second spherical of the Paris Masters.

No. 1 ranked Djokovic confirmed indicators of rustiness with a few unforced errors within the opening sport, however he put strain on his Hungarian opponent with the standard of his service returns, breaking him twice within the first set.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion dropped serve with a forehand error to path 2-1 within the second set. Fucsovics leveled the set rating when Djokovic hit a return lengthy.

Clearly not on the high of his sport, a roaring Djokovic punched the air after whipping a forehand move to carry serve within the third sport of the ultimate set. He broke for a 4-2 lead when Fucsovics despatched a backhand lengthy earlier than changing his second match level with a forehand winner.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic serves the ball to Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics on the Paris Masters tennis event on the Bercy Enviornment in Paris, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Picture/Thibault Camus)

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“It was an amazing battle,” Djokovic mentioned. “We type of pushed one another to the restrict. It was an amazing opening match for me, I’m more than happy.” Djokovic might clinch the year-end No. 1 rating in Paris earlier than the tip of the season and break a tie with Pete Sampras with a report seventh year-end No. 1 end.

“Now it’s about discovering that match-play depth and taking part in extra factors,” Djokovic mentioned. “And the extra factors I play, you realize, the extra matches I play, I’m going to get higher.”

The highest-ranked Serbian has lifted the Paris Masters trophy a report 5 occasions and will break a tie with Rafael Nadal for essentially the most Masters 1000 titles gained. Nadal and Djokovic have gained 36 Masters 1000 titles every, eight greater than Roger Federer.

Djokovic got here up one victory wanting a calendar-year Grand Slam when he misplaced to Daniil Medvedev on the U.S. Open in September.

Additionally Tuesday, Felix Auger-Aliassime stayed in competition for a spot on the ATP Finals by beating Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 within the first spherical.

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The ninth-seeded Auger-Aliassime hit two double-faults and despatched a forehand vast to permit Mager to serve out the primary set. However he leveled the match when Mager double-faulted on set level within the second.
Auger-Aliassime then broke Mager twice within the third.

“I had issue with my tempo initially of the match. I didn’t hit sufficient first serves so I had a little bit of strain on my second serve,” Auger-Aliassime mentioned. “I bounced again within the second set. I attempted to seek out options in returns, altering my positions, various my returns. And after returning so effectively, I created events and I gained the second set after which I completed very effectively.”

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Qualifying for the ATP Finals would cap a very good season for the 21-year-old Canadian, who reached the semifinals on the U.S. Open and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. He additionally reached the ultimate on 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 certified for the ATP Finals. Auger-Aliassime, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner, Hubert Hurkacz and Cameron Norrie are among the many gamers hoping to affix the eight-man event.

American gamers Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz additionally superior to the second spherical, as did Karen Khachanov of Russia, Carlos Alcaraz of Spain and James Duckworth of Australia.

Opelka, the runner-up in Toronto, hit 19 aces whereas beating Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-3, 7-6 (4), whereas Fritz defeated Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Paul beat Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-3, 6-4.

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