Pair of Americans upset at Rolex Paris Masters

League: Tennis

Posted on: 31 Oct, 2023 at 02:26 AM

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik and Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina both pulled off upsets of seeded Americans on Monday in the first round of the Rolex Paris Masters in France.

Bublik beat No. 14 seed Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, while Davidovich Fokina defeated 15th-seeded Ben Shelton 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3.

Tiafoe held a 4-3 lead in the second set, but Bublik stormed back, winning the final three games to cap a performance in which he swatted 11 aces and won 30 of 34 first-service points for the match.

Meanwhile, Davidovich Fokina converted both of his break-point opportunities while overcoming 15 aces from Shelton to set up a second-round meeting with the Netherlands' Tallon Griekspoor, who was a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 winner against Christopher Eubanks of the United States.

Americans Taylor Fritz, the No. 9 seed, and Tommy Paul, the No. 12 seed, made up for their countrymen's losses, ousting Sebastian Baez of Argentina and French wild card Richard Gasquet, respectively.

Fritz swept Baez 6-1, 6-4 while Paul recovered from an ugly first set to down Gasquet 0-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6).

"I'm pretty happy, especially with how the match started in the first set," Fritz said. "I got an early break of serve in the second and luckily I was just able to hold on serve and finish it up."

The victory came at a cost for Fritz, who aggravated an abdomen injury.

"It's something that's been bothering me for a little bit. ... I didn't think it was anything too bad going in (to this match), but one where I slid out and sliced that forehand, I felt like I did something that I had never done to it before," Fritz said. "Like maybe I tore something or pulled it. So I'm going to have to get it checked out and see what's going on."

Sixteenth-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov, the event's champion in 2018, also warded off an upset thanks to a 6-4, 6-4 sweep of Max Purcell of Australia. Another Australian, No. 13 seed Alex de Minaur, defeated Great Britain's Andy Murray 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5.

Other winners Monday included Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Laslo Djere of Serbia, Chile's Nicolas Jarry, Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin, Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp and Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem.

--Field Level Media