Paris (AFP) – Defending champion Daniil Medvedev continued the fight to end the year at the top of the world ladder by defeating Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday in the second round of the Paris Masters.
The second-seeded Russian squandered three set points with a 5-1 draw in the first set. After that, Ivashka was allowed to hit back to equalize 5-5.
However, Ivashka lost her serve with a double fault and three negative faults. Medvedev secured the set with a backhand shot.
The US Open champion broke to lead 2-1 in the second round but then suffered two double faults on his first two points before converting the third when Ivachka sent in a long forehand.
Novak Djokovic, who also plays in Paris, has an 800-point lead over Medvedev in the rankings, and could claim the place of honor this week, depending on the results of both.
For his part, Diego Schwartzman said farewell to the match, as he fell 7-6 (2) and 7-6 (4) against American Marcos Giron.
The Argentine had just defeated Australian John Millman in the first round, but ended the season without a ticket to the Round of 16 and without qualifying for the ATP Finals.
Earlier, Stefanos Tsitsipas withdrew from the second round match as he trailed 4-2 to Australian Alexei Popirin.
The Greek, seeded third in the Indoor Championships, leads the ATP Tour with 55 wins this year and has been playing his 73rd game of the season. However, his form declined after reaching the final of the French Open, from which he was eliminated in the third round of the US Open, and in the second round in Vienna last week.
“I’ve never retired before and I didn’t have a choice today,” Tsitsipas said. “I also want to be careful about the next tournament which is more important to me.”
Tsitsipas has qualified for the ATP Finals, the tournament hosting the top eight of the season, which will begin on November 14 in Turin, Italy. He declined to say what hit him on Wednesday, but touched his right arm several times during the match.
Tsitsipas said: “I had a problem there for a while. It got worse in the last few weeks, which is why I take care of myself. I felt the pain during the match and all I want is to prevent it from getting worse.”
Earlier today, American Taylor Fritz raised the only break ball he faced by eliminating Russian Andrey Rublev (the fifth seed) 7-5, 7-6 (2).
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta lost in the second round to squander their slim chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals.
But Hubert Hurkacz (seeded 7) and Cameron Norrie (10) beat the American competitors and are still in the race.
Auger-Aliassime (9) lost 6-3, 7-5 to German Dominic Kupfer, while Carino Busta (12) lost 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5 to Frenchman Hugo Gaston.
Poland’s Hurkacz beat Tommy Ball 7-5, 7-6 (4), while Britain’s Nuri beat Riley Opelka 6-3, 6-4.
Alexander Zverev (4th) beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 7-6 (5). The Olympic champion needed a pause in the first set to deal with his strained neck.
Also on Wednesday, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (16th place) beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov, the 2018 champion in Paris 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.
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