Top seed Novak Djokovic survives, advances at Paris Masters

League: Tennis

Posted on: 03 Nov, 2023 at 01:17 AM

Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic needed a late charge to get past Dutch foe Tallon Griekspoor 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the round of 16 of the Rolex Paris Masters on Thursday in France.

The Serbian star stayed alive in the event despite a 43-30 deficit in total winners and seven double faults against Griekspoor.

Neither player broke serve during the second set, but Djokovic wrested momentum from Griekspoor with a 5-0 start to the second-set tiebreaker. Djokovic then broke Griekspoor's serve in the fifth and ninth games of the third set to prevail.

Djokovic said after the match that he had been fighting a stomach illness this week.

"I don't want to take anything away from (Griekspoor's) performance. He didn't drop the level," Djokovic said. "Maybe in the third set a few games he did a bit, but he was playing at a very high level and credit to him for that performance. If he would be the winner tonight, it would be absolutely deserved.

"I started off well but I ran out of steam. I've been struggling the last couple of days with my stomach and I just didn't feel myself at all. I was just trying to hold my serve and get to a tie-break, which happened in the second. I got lucky on a couple of shots there. It could have easily gone his way, but overall I played a good tie-break and I started to feel better in the third."

No one has won more Paris Masters singles titles than Djokovic (six).

His quarterfinal opponent, Danish sixth seed Holger Rune, coasted past Germany's Daniel Altmaier 6-3, 6-3.

In the 2022 final in Paris, Rune defeated Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 for his first Masters 1000-level title. Rune also beat Djokovic in three sets in Rome earlier this year and owns a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head series.

Greek seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas took down German 10th seed Alexander Zverev 7-6 (2), 6-4. In doing so, Tsitsipas clinched a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals for the fifth straight year.

Djokovic, Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, Italy's Jannik Sinner and Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are the other players to qualify for the finals played in Turin Nov. 12-19.

"It's awesome. What a great relief to finally get that spot," Tsitsipas said. "I've been working extremely hard the whole year... and it's a moment of relief that I've made it to one of my favorite events of the year and I get the opportunity to play in from my Italian fans, but also get some Greek people in."

Next up in Paris, Tsitsipas will face Russian 16th seed Karen Khachanov, who beat countryman Roman Safiullin 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Rublev, the fifth seed, advanced past Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-3. Polish 11th seed Hubert Hurkacz and Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov also won their round of 16 matches.

Australian 13th seed Alex de Minaur advanced via walkover when fourth-seeded Sinner withdrew, claiming he did not have enough time to recover between matches.

--Field Level Media