Novak Djokovic gives his verdict after a tense win at the Paris Masters
Novak Djokovic admits he was pushed all the way as he made a victorious return to action at the Paris Masters.
He was made to work hard by Marton Fucsovics in front of an enthusiastic French crowd and while there were a few uncharacteristic errors in the third set from the world number one, he got the better of three straight breaks of serve and wrapped up a 6-2 4-6 6-3 victory.
Djokovic took a break to recharge his batteries after seeing his calendar Grand Slam dreams ended by a US Open final loss to Daniil Medvedev in September.
He showed no signs of rust in the first set against Fucsovics but the Hungarian, ranked 40th, responded well, holding onto an early break in the second to level the match.
“It was great to be back on the court after almost two months without competition,” Djokovic said.
“I did not expect anything but I knew this was not going to be an easy match. Marton is a very talented player, he has a lot of quality. It was a great fight. I couldn’t break his serve, he was playing with a lot of precision and we pushed each other to the limit. It was a great opening match for me. I am very pleased.
“It is just about spending time on court, finding that match play intensity and playing more points.
“The more matches I play, I think I am going to get better. I know myself well, I was in this situation before, quite a lot of times, so hopefully experience can play a role in doing the job well.”
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 2, 2021
Djokovic will next face Adrian Mannarino or Gael Monfils, as he looks to end this week in Paris by wrapping up the year-end world No.1 ranking.
Click HERE to find out what Djokovic needs to do to seal that prestigious No.1 ranking for a record breaking seventh successive year.
On an busy day in Paris, Diego Schwartzman needed treatment for cuts and splinters to his hands from his own smashed racket during a feisty contest against Australia’s John Millman but the 11th seed eventually came through 7-6 (2) 5-7 6-2.
Ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime came from a set down to defeat qualifier Gianluca Mager 4-6 6-4 6-1 while Australia’s James Duckworth upset 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Three-set matches were the order of the day and two more saw home favourite Gael Monfils come from behind to beat Miomir Kecmanovic and Grigor Dimitrov see off another French veteran, Richard Gasquet.
Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz battled past Pierre-Hugues Herbert in nearly three hours to set up an intriguing second-round clash with fellow young gun Jannik Sinner.
American trio Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul all won while Alexei Popyrin claimed a surprisingly one-sided 6-3 6-0 win against fellow Australian Alex De Minaur.
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