ATP

Murray beaten in first round in Paris despite seven match points as Fucsovics sets up Djokovic clash

By Sports Desk November 01, 2021

Andy Murray was defeated in the first round of the Paris Masters on Monday following a three-set battle with Dominik Koepfer.

Murray, given a wildcard entry, was initially drawn against Jenson Brooksby but the American withdrew just a couple of hours before the match was due to start because of an abdominal injury.

The three-time major singles champion instead faced German Koepfer, who triumphed 6-4 5-7 7-6 (11-9) in a contest lasting just over three hours.

Lucky loser Koepfer, in his debut in the main draw, served for the match at 5-3 in the second set but was broken to love as the contest turned topsy-turvy.

Murray had seven match points in the decider, including five in the tie-breaker, but the 2016 champion could not convert and left the court looking disconsolate.

"I was about to go back to the hotel and then one of the ATP Tour Managers texted me, 'Dom, you in? You're playing against Andy Murray'," Koepfer said. "Honestly, I was a little nervous.

"I didn't expect to play today, I was hoping that someone was going to pull out tomorrow. But a night match here in Paris, a lot of fans, they had an unbelievable crowd, the first time for me for a while. It's been a great day. Unexpected, but it worked out and I'm happy."

There was more disappointment for the United Kingdom as Dan Evans saw a strong start yield nothing as he lost in three sets to Alexander Bublik, who goes on to face sixth seed Casper Ruud.

Djokovic set for Fucsovics test

World number one Novak Djokovic will begin his campaign against Marton Fucsovics, who outlasted Fabio Fognini in a match lasing nearly two hours and 45 minutes.

Fucsovics dominated the first set but was engaged in a far tougher battle for the rest of the contest before winning 6-1 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-5).

The Hungarian is 0-3 against Djokovic in his career, last losing to the 20-time major winner at the quarter-final stage of Wimbledon. The winner of this latest contest could face a last-16 meeting with Adrian Mannarino, who won in straight sets against Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Albert Ramos-Vinolas to secure a meeting with second seed Daniil Medvedev, while Dusan Lajovic will face Alexander Zverev after defeating Mackenzie McDonald.

Norrie brings up Tour century to keep Finals in sight

Tenth seed Cameron Norrie kept his chances alive of qualifying for the ATP Finals after a commanding 6-2 6-1 defeat of Federico Delbonis.

The Briton's victory, his 100th on the Tour, could help him to close the gap in the race for the year-ending tournament in Turin. Norrie started the week in 11th place, 140 points adrift of Jannik Sinner in the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot.

"It's obviously a great milestone and it shows I have been on the Tour and have a little bit of experience now," said Norrie. "It's a nice bonus, but there is a lot of tennis in the year to be played. It's a great achievement."

One man who will not qualify for the Finals is Aslan Karatsev. Last month's champion in Moscow lost in three sets to American Sebastian Korda, meaning he cannot now catch the top eight.

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