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Djokovic makes winning return in tough Fucsovics battle

By Nicholas Mcgee

Paris, November 3: Novak Djokovic recovered from a second-set blip to emerge victorious 6-2 4-6 6-3 in his first match since the US Open at the Paris Masters.

Victory in Paris would see Djokovic – competing for the first time since September's loss to Daniil Medvedev in the Flushing Meadows final – clinch the year-end number one ranking for a record seventh time.

Djokovic looked to be on course for a routine victory to start his campaign after comfortably taking the first set against Marton Fucsovics in their second-round contest on Tuesday.

However, the top seed's Hungarian opponent fought back to force a decider, hitting 13 winners to seven unforced errors in the second set.

But Djokovic – a record five-time Paris Masters champion – ensured a remarkable turnaround was not forthcoming, breaking Fucsovics twice in the third and, after letting one match point slip, clinching his second to secure victory.

Felix fights back

Ranked 12th in the ATP Race to Turin, Felix Auger-Aliassime needs to lift the trophy in Paris and hope Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner do not reach the latter stages to make it to the ATP Finals.

Auger-Aliassime risked falling at the first hurdle on Tuesday as the ninth seed was forced to fight back to defeat Gianluca Mager 4-6 6-4 6-1.

"I had difficulty with my pace at the beginning of the match," said Auger-Aliassime. "I didn't hit enough first serves so I had a bit of pressure on my second serve.

"So I could have served better in the first set. I [had] a poor game at four-all and I got broken, but even before that there were moments at 30-all it was a bit hot and a bit tight. I think I relaxed. I found a better pace at the beginning of the second set, and it went even better as the match went forward."

He will next face Dominik Koepfer in the second round following the German's stunning win over Andy Murray on Monday (November 1).

Alcaraz sets up Sinner clash

Sinner will have an extremely testing second-round clash after Carlos Alcaraz came from behind to see off wild card Pierre Hugues-Herbert.

Alcaraz let slip a 4-2 lead in the first set to lose that on a tie-break but won six straight points in a second-set breaker before eventually battling to a 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 win in two hours, 53 minutes.

"It's not easy to play against a home player," Alcaraz said. "I think we played a good level and it was a great match, so I am happy to win. He has a great serve, so I had to return better and remain focus. I think that was the key. I am playing at a good level and I want to finish the year strong."

Diego Schwartzman – the 11th seed – needed three sets to see off John Millman, 15th seed Gael Monfils reversed a one-set deficit against Miomir Kecmanovic and 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov survived a three-setter with Richard Gasquet.

But one seed did fall on Tuesday (November 2), Roberto Bautista Agut (14) edged by James Duckworth in three sets.

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Story first published: Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 5:10 [IST]
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