PARIS, November 3, 2016
12 of the Top 16 seeds were in third round action at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris Bercy on Thursday, with the top two players in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, leading the way.
Djokovic rallied to beat Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The world number one from Serbia won 73 per cent of his first service poins and capitalized on four of his six break point opportunities to secure victory in two hours and 23 minutes.
“I’m very grateful to have such a crowd and perform in front of them. I think they appreciated the battle between Grigor and I today,” said Djokovic. “I think we both gave what we could. I think it was a really, really nice match to be a part of.”
Djokovic will next take on Marin Cilic. The tournament’s number nine from Croatia defeated eighth seed David Goffin from Belgium 6-3, 7-6 in one hour and 53 minutes. With this win, Cilic booked his spot for the ATP World Tour Finals, returning to The O2 in London for the first time since 2014.
“I was expecting it,” said Cilic. “That’s what I was playing for. I have been in this Battle for London for a few years. You can say I’m getting experienced in that, so it’s something that is giving me a lot of confidence… [It] was the goal of the season for me, to reach the [Barclays ATP World] Tour Finals in London. Obviously the Top 8 is something that all the players in the world are wishing for.
“It’s one of the best tournaments in the world, for sure, to battle it out with best in that kind of a format. It’s definitely something special, so it’s great for me that I achieved it, especially in this kind of way over the past few weeks. I earned it, and that’s, for me, an even bigger plus.”
Andy Murray continued his dominance againt Lucas Pouille, winning 6-3, 6-0 in only 72 minutes. With his third victory over the Frenchman in as many meetings between the two, Murray remains in contention to unseat Djokovic as World No. 1. The 29-year-old Brit must either win the title in Paris and have Djokovic lose before the final, or reach the final and have Djokovic lose before the semi-finals.
“I thought I returned well today. I had chances in almost all of his service games during the match,” said Murray. “Obviously that’s good when the surface is a bit quicker. I was getting a good hit on them and rushing him immediately.”
John Isner and Jack Sock will clash in an all-US-American quarterfinal match on Friday. The big serving Tampa resident fought past German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in one hour and 36 minutes. Sock knocked out local favourite and 12th seed Richard Gasquet, winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and two minutes.
The tournament’s number four Milos Raonic battled past Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay, rallying 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to await Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 31-year-old battled past fifth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, winning 0-6, 6-3, 7-6 in exactly two hours of play.