Novak Djokovic makes winning start in title defence at Paris Masters

The sixth seed was able to demonstrate his athleticism throughout the one-hour, 43-minute match despite numerous short points



Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

By ANI

Published: Wed 2 Nov 2022, 9:31 AM

The Rolex Paris Masters' match on Tuesday saw Novak Djokovic play for the first time since early October, when he won back-to-back indoor championships and increased his winning run to ten games with a commanding victory over Maxime Cressy.

Djokovic defeated the Paris-born American 7-6(1), 6-4 as he dominated the serve and was able to use that freedom to try stopping Cressy's thunderous delivery. After converting on his fifth break point to take the lead at 5-4 in the second set, the Serbian ultimately broke through on the return and easily served out the victory.

Cressy fought back in the first set, saving three break points with his all-out attack, but Djokovic easily won the set with two double faults in the tie-break.

The American stuck to his aggressive game plan, hitting 15 aces overall and 10 double faults. While the tactic worked on his own serve, he was unable to disrupt Djokovic's delivery because the Serb lost just six service points and did not encounter a breakpoint.

"I had to lock in, I had to not give him gifts and points. What I could do and what I wanted to do is to really do what I do best, which is just be solid from the back of the court and wait for the opportunities when they are presented, try to capitalise on them... Just overall very pleased with the way I felt and the way I played," Djokovic said, as quoted by ATP.

The sixth seed was able to demonstrate his athleticism throughout the one-hour, 43-minute match despite numerous short points. In particular, he did so on a backhand passing shot that helped him gain the crucial break in set two, whereupon he basked in the admiration of the Paris audience.

In a matchup with one of the ATP Tour's top servers, the Serbian's outstanding return was on full display. Following the match, Djokovic praised Cressy's distinctive style of play and discussed how it changed the way he approached the return.

"It does change a lot because not only do you have to get the return back, but you have to put it under his feet, which is very difficult to do. It's nice to see someone that comes in after the first and second serve. It just gives a different look from the tennis fans' point of view. I appreciate that, I respect that.

"It takes courage to play with this modern tennis nowadays this kind of style that is almost an ancient style. You don't have many players that do that. Possibly he's the only one at the top," added the Serb.

Casper Ruud, the third seed, defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 7-6(7) in 84 minutes to get his Paris tournament off to a good start.

The Norwegian player hit 11 wins in the opening set before recovering from falling behind by a break in the second set. He then saved a set point at 6/7 in the second-set tie-break to advance to the third round.

Ruud, who advanced to the quarterfinals in Paris last season, will next face either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Italian Lorenzo Musetti. The 23-year-old has a current season record of 48-19 after making finals at the US Open, Miami, and Roland Garros.

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