© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Sebastian Korda is making his debut at the Rolex Paris Masters.

Korda Ends Karatsev’s Turin Bid In Paris

Fucsovics defeats Fognini

#NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda recovered from squandering two match points in the second-set tie-break on Monday at the Rolex Paris Masters, edging Aslan Karatsev 6-2, 6-7(9), 7-6(5) to reach the second round in Paris, ending the Russian's Nitto ATP Finals hopes in the process.

In a high-quality match, both players produced an array of winners as they looked to dictate with their groundstrokes from the baseline. However, it was Korda who found his best tennis in the third-set tie-break, overpowering the 28-year-old to advance on his fourth match point.

“I knew what to expect and it all came down to the clutch moments,” Korda said in his on-court interview. “It was so much fun to play in front of the Paris crowd, they get so fired up and it is so awesome.”

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Karatsev captured his second tour-level title of the season in Moscow last month to keep alive his slim chance of qualifying for the season finale, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November 2021.

But, after falling in his opening match on home soil in St. Petersburg last week, the 28-year-old needed a deep run in Paris to remain in contention. With his defeat to Korda, Karatsev, who is 13th (2,290 points) in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, will no longer be able to catch eighth-placed Jannik Sinner (3,015), who occupies the final qualification spot.

In a tight battle, Korda, who is making his debut in Paris, played aggressively against the Russian, breaking four times as he hit with great depth to force the 28-year-old into errors. After failing to convert two match points at 7/6 and 8/7 in the second set tie-break, the American kept his focus in the decider to advance after two hours and 52 minutes.

“I had a lot of chances in the second set and I didn’t take them,” Korda added. “Then he broke me and I broke back and it was a dog fight in the end. I had match points in the second set and learnt a few things in the tie-break. It was just getting myself back into those break point opportunities and finding a way.”

The 21-year-old now leads Karatsev 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and will next face St. Petersburg champion Marin Cilic or Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Korda has enjoyed a breakthrough season, capturing his maiden tour-level title in Parma, before reaching the fourth round at a major for the first time at Wimbledon. The American is set to compete at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, to be held 9-13 November.

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Marton Fucsovics kept his composure on Monday to set up a second-round clash against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Rolex Paris Masters.

Having squandered a match point in the second set, the Hungarian was broken at 4-4 in the decider but recovered immediately en route to beating Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-1, 6-7(6), 7-6(5) over two hours and 44 minutes.

Fucsovics, who won the first five games of the match, was unable to control a lob on match point at 6/5 in the second-set tie-break and an aggressive Fognini carried the momentum to lead 2-0 in the deciding set. Fucsovics recovered to win 13 of the next 14 points and broke back at 4-5 prior to a tense finale.

Elsewhere, Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka struck 15 aces past Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain in a 6-3, 7-6(2) win for a meeting against second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev, the defending champion. Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic will take on last year’s finalist, fourth seed Alexander Zverev, after he defeated Mackenzie McDonald of the United States 6-3, 6-4.

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