Djokovic through, local favorites struggle at Paris Masters

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-31 09:33:07|Editor: ZD
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PARIS, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Second-seeded Novak Djokovic breezed past Portugal's Joao Sousa in straight sets to make into the round of 16, while French players failed to please home crowds as five of six featuring in Tuesday's action crashed out from the competition at the 2018 ATP Paris Masters.

Djokovic didn't concede a set in his previous five head-to-heads against Sousa. Both players maintained their serves in the first three games, before the Serbian took advantage of first serves trouble from his opponent for the first break of the match.

Then Djokovic built a 4-1 lead after holding his own service, while seeing his Portuguese rival bounce back strongly for a 4-all.

The world No. 2 broke for the second time in the 12th game to bag the first set 7-5.

Djokovic continued his momentum with five straight games into the second set, and seemed to be little tested en route to his 6-1 victory. He converted his third match points as Sousa's backhand went long.

Djokovic is vying for the top position on the ATP world rankings with Rafael Nadal. The Serbian has not been world No. 1 since the 2016 Paris Masters. He needs to advance further than the Spaniard to regain the top place.

Fifth seed Marin Cilic overcame Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4, while the 14th-seeded Greek talent Stefanos Tsitsipas was ousted by Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 6-3.

There was little to celebrate for home players. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered an agonizing loss to Canadian opponent Milos Raonic after two hours and 52 minutes, as three sets were forced into tie-breaks at 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).

Tsonga's compatriot Jeremy Chardy fell to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4. Defeats also arrived for other two Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Benoit Paire.

Only Gilles Simon moved through Tuesday's first round at the expense of Lucas Pouille in an all-France duel at 6-3, 6-4.

Roger Federer, fresh from his 99th tour-level title in his hometown Basel last weekend, confirmed his participation in the French capital, marking his first appearance in the tournament over the past three years.

"Mostly I feel like it's better for me to play matches rather than practice," Federer told a news conference.

The third seed will take on Raonic in Wednesday's second round. Nadal will face his fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.