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Medvedev Closing On Paris Repeat

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Daniil Medvedev played inspired tennis in front of energetic Parisian fans to snuff out a stern test from Sebastian Korda 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 en route to the Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finals on Friday night.

Medvedev conjured up a dipping forehand pass laced with spin worthy of a sorcerer that found its way under the American’s racquet to claim the decisive break at 3-2 in the final set. Pandemic-weary fans responded with a Mexican Wave during the changeover and then sustained applause when the players emerged from their seats, earning a smile from Medvedev, hearty laughs from Korda and even a generous smile from umpire Aurelie Tourte.

“I had adrenaline going [from another hot shot earlier in the game] and that’s how it’s possible to make these shots. It was a little bit of luck, a little bit of skill and a little bit of magic,” Medvedev said.

But Medvedev was also focussed on the serious business of continuing his title defense and not handing Novak Djokovic an early path to the year-end No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking. Defeat to Korda would have guaranteed Djokovic a record-breaking seventh year-end No. 1 finish. If Medvedev wins the Paris title, his faint hopes of finishing No. 1 himself will carry over to the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Medvedev’s victory was anchored in his low unforced error count of 17, fewer than half the 40 Korda made. He earned 14 break point chances, converting five, while dropping serve twice himself.

“It was a tough first set where I felt that I had the margin but I didn’t manage to break him [from 0/40 at 3-2] and he turned it around against me,” Medvedev said. “But I was really happy that I stayed calm and kept my level and that was enough to win today.”

Medvedev next faces the winner of #NextGenATP stars Carlos Alcaraz and Hugo Gaston.

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Ruud Makes Norwegian History, Qualifies For Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Casper Ruud will make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals after clinching his spot on Thursday at the Rolex Paris Masters The 22-year-old is the first Norwegian to earn a spot in the season finale, to be played at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November.

“It’s been an unbelievable year that will have the perfect end to the season,” said Ruud. “It’s been a stressful couple of weeks and months, because it’s been such a tight [FedEx ATP] Race [To Turin]. It’s been fun at the same time [and] so exciting to watch as a tennis fan.”

The Oslo native has enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2021, winning five of his six ATP Tour titles. The only other player who has lifted five tour-level trophies this year is Alexander Zverev, another Turin qualifier.

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Krawietz/Tecau, Murray/Soares Qualify For Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Two doubles teams — Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau, and Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares — have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals following Thursday’s play at the Rolex Paris Masters.

While Filip Polasek and Ivan Dodig have already secured their berths, meaning eight teams have now qualified, Polasek remains in contention with John Peers in Paris this week. If Polasek and Peers also finish in the Top 8 of the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings, then Polasek will need to decide whether he partners Polasek or Peers at the Pala Alpitour in Turin later this month.


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Zverev Wins Epic In Paris, Downs Dimitrov To Reach QFs

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Alexander Zverev was made to work hard for his seventh consecutive win on Thursday at the Rolex Paris Masters. The fourth seed recovered from squandering two match points in the second set, downing Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-3 to continue his pursuit of a third ATP Masters 1000 title of the season.

In a tight match against Dimitrov, Zverev saved eight of the nine break points he faced, but had to be patient on return against the 30-year-old, who gave the German very few chances.

After squandering two match points on Dimitrov’s serve at 6-5, 15/40, the fourth seed eventually advanced after two hours and 46 minutes to improve to 3-1 in his ATPHead2Head series against the Bulgarian.

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“[It was an] incredible match,” Zverev said. “Grigor is playing very high-level tennis and I had to leave everything out there. I think it was a very high-level match and it could have gone both ways, especially the third set. I am happy with how things went in the end.”

The German, who clinched his fifth tour-level crown of the year in Vienna last week, is currently playing some of the best tennis of his career, triumphing in 27 of his past 29 matches.

Zverev reached the final in Paris a year ago and will be aiming to go one step further this week, with Casper Ruud or Marcos Giron awaiting next in the quarter-finals. Earlier this season, the World No. 4 lifted Masters 1000 trophies in Madrid and Cincinnati and also clinched the Tokyo Olympics singles gold medal.

In a lively first set, Zverev quickly found his rhythm from the baseline as he fired his powerful groundstrokes through the court, stepping inside the baseline to move Dimitrov around. After failing to serve the set out at 5-4, Zverev recovered to claim the tie-break..

Zverev continued to hold firm in the second set, as both players looked to gain the first strike in the rallies. The fourth seed zoned in on return in the 12th game, but failed to convert two match points at 6-5, 15/40. Fuelled by belief and support from the French crowd, Dimitrov then quickly raced ahead in the tie-break to level. But he could not keep Zverev at bay in the decider, with the German securing victory on his third match point, one hour after his second.

Dimitrov has been in strong form recently, having reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final of the season in Indian Wells last month, before he battled past Richard Gasquet and Karen Khachanov in three sets this week in Paris.

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Mahut/Herbert Reach Paris QFs

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert moved into the quarter-finals at the Rolex Paris Masters on Thursday, downing Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar 7-6(6), 6-4.

The Frenchmen won the title as a team in 2019 and set the wheels in motion for a similar run this week, winning 85 per cent (35/41) of their first-serve points against Behar and Escobar to advance after 83 minutes.

The third seeds will next face Benjamin Bonzi and Arthur Rinderknech after the French pair upset eighth seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-7(5), 12-10 in one hour and 44 minutes.

Top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic were aiming to win their 10th tour-level crown together as a team this season in Paris, but lost to Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, with the Belgians notching an impressive 6-3, 7-6(6) victory in 89 minutes.

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In a day of surprises, Tim Puetz and Michael Venus shocked second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7-6(12), 7-6(8) to advance after one hour and 57 minutes. The German-New Zealand team will next play Fabrice Martin and Andreas Mies after the unseeded pair moved past Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau 6-3, 6-3.

There were no such issues for fifth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, with the Colombians moving past Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski 7-6(6), 7-5 in one hour and 48 minutes.

Cabal and Farah will next meet Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. The British-Brazilian tandem produced a dominant performance to cruise past Roberto Bautista Agut and Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-3.

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Rune To Compete In Milan

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Following Jannik Sinner’s withdrawal, Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune has qualified for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, to be played from 9-13 November. 

The 18-year-old Danish star began the year at No. 473 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, and he rose to a career-high No. 118 on 1 November.

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Fritz Derails Norrie’s Turin Bid In Paris

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Taylor Fritz soared into his second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final on Thursday at the Rolex Paris Masters, damaging Cameron Norrie’s Nitto ATP Finals hopes in the process.

The World No. 26, who enjoyed a run to the last four at the BNP Paribas Open last month, played consistently and aggressively from the baseline, saving two set points in the second set to down Norrie 6-3, 7-6(3) in one hour and 33 minutes.

“I played incredibly well,” Fritz said. “A lot of pressure situations I got through and played really well. He is in so many games and he really makes you come up with a lot. Fortunately for me I came up with the shots I needed to, to stay in the match.”

Fritz has now won 11 of his past 13 matches, having reached the final in St. Petersburg last week. The American earned his third Top 10 win of the year in the second round in Paris when he upset World No. 6 Andrey Rublev.

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With his victory, Fritz has levelled his ATP Head2Head series against Norrie to 4-4. The 24-year-old had never been beyond the second round in two previous main-draw appearances in Paris, but will next face Novak Djokovic for a place in the semi-finals after the World No. 1 received a walkover from Gael Monfils.

“I am not playing important situations scared or tight,” Fritz added. “I am trusting my forehand as a weapon and just attacking with it. My forehand has become such a weapon I can rely on.”

Norrie has earned a career-best 50 tour-level victories this season and is 11th in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin (2,945 points), battling to clinch one of the final two remaining singles spots available at the season finale, to be held at the Pala Alpitour from 14-21 November.

However, the Briton now faces a tough battle to qualify. Seventh-placed Casper Ruud (3,185) will secure his spot in Turin with victory over Marcos Giron later on Thursday, while eighth-placed Hubert Hurkacz (3,135) can stamp his ticket with a win against James Duckworth on Friday.

”Taylor was too good today,” Norrie said. [In the] really big moments he served well, came up with big shots, played aggressively, he was moving extremely well. All credit to him. He played a very clean match and was very consistent throughout the whole match, so it was too good.”

On his chances of qualifying for Turin, Norrie said: “It’s looking unlikely, I guess. I haven’t done the math or anything, but I think they [Ruud and Hurkacz] were ahead of me already and for them to still be in the tournament it looks difficult.”

In a strong first set, Fritz struck the ball with power and depth on his forehand to dictate, forcing Norrie deep behind the baseline. The 24-year-old found the decisive break in the sixth game to lead, before sealing the set on serve.

The American continued to push in the second set but Norrie showed great resilience, fending off both break points he faced. However, the 26-year-old was unable to convert two second set points on Fritz’s serve at 5-4, 40/15 and 40/30 as they moved to a tie-break. Fritz pulled away in the tie-break as he found his best tennis, securing his victory with one of the 25 winners he hit in the match.

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Hurkacz Improves Turin Hopes, Plays Duckworth In Paris QFs

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

Hubert Hurkacz improved his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals on Thursday when he booked his place in the Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finals.

The seventh-seeded Pole battled back to overcome Dominik Koepfer, a German lucky loser and conqueror of Andy Murray and Felix Auger-Aliassime, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and six minutes.

Hurkacz currently sits in the final automatic qualification spot, with 3,135 points in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, 120 points ahead of ninth-placed Italian Jannik Sinner, who lost to #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Hurkacz will next challenge James Duckworth, who advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final with a 7-6(6), 6-4 victory over fellow Australian Alexei Popyrin in one hour and 47 minutes. Duckworth recovered from 1-3 down in the first set.

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Koepfer’s athleticism reaped dividends in the third game, when he scrambled up a drop shot to strike a lob that Hurkacz could not return cleanly. The German’s confidence soared and he completed the 41-minute first set with an ace.

The second set started with four straight service breaks and while Koepfer recovered from 0/40 when serving at 4-5, Hurkacz stepped up two games later to take the pair’s first meeting to a decider.

Errors crept into Koepfer’s game and he struck a backhand wide to gift Hurkacz a 3-2 advantage in the third set. Hurkacz applied the pressure, won the mental battle and broke serve once again at 5-2 to stay in contention for a place in Turin later this month. It was his 35th match win of the year, which includes three ATP Tour titles.

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Thursday Preview: Medvedev, Zverev & Nitto ATP Finals Hopes Feature In Paris

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2021

While Daniil Medvedev headlines play at the Rolex Paris Masters on Thursday, the FedEx ATP Race To Turin is heating up and three Nitto ATP Finals contenders — Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz and Cameron Norrie — are also in action.

Two singles spots remain up for grabs with less than 10 days left in the regular ATP Tour season, which includes next week’s Stockholm Open.

Seventh seed Hurkacz will be wary of lucky loser Dominik Koepfer, who has started strongly in wins over 2016 champion Andy Murray and Felix Auger-Aliassime this week. The Pole sits in the final automatic qualification spot and will be watching 10th seed Norrie closely, when the Briton challenges Taylor Fritz second on Court Central. Norwegian Casper Ruud, who is seventh in the battle for a spot at the season finale, to be held from 14-21 November at the Pala Alpitour in Turin meets Marcos Giron, an American qualifier.

If the second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev loses to #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda during the night session, then Novak Djokovic will secure year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for a record-breaking seventh time. Djokovic had been due to play Gael Monfils, but the French 15th seed withdrew due to a right adductor strain. Fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev, last week’s Erste Bank Open titlist (d. Tiafoe), also plays No. 16 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria for the fourth time, while 18-year-old #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz plays French qualifier Hugo Gaston.

Watch Wednesday Highlights From Paris


COURT CENTRAL start 11:00 am
[LL] D. Koepfer (GER) vs [7] H. Hurkacz (POL)
[10] C. Norrie (GBR) vs T. Fritz (USA)
[16] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [4] A. Zverev (GER)

Not Before 7:30 pm
S. Korda (USA) vs [2] D. Medvedev (RUS)
C. Alcaraz (ESP) vs [Q] H. Gaston (FRA)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[LL] A. Popyrin (AUS) vs J. Duckworth (AUS)
[WC] B. Bonzi (FRA) / A. Rinderknech (FRA) vs [8] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs A. Behar (URU) / G. Escobar (ECU)
[5] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR)

Not Before 7:30 pm
[6] C. Ruud (NOR) vs [Q] M. Giron (USA)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[1] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO) vs S. Gille (BEL) / J. Vliegen (BEL)
[7] K. Krawietz (GER) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs [PR] F. Martin (FRA) / A. Mies (GER)
J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [Alt] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / A. Bublik (KAZ)
T. Puetz (GER) / M. Venus (NZL) vs [2] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR)

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