Djokovic cruises, Murray struggles, Wawrinka out in Paris
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[November 03, 2016]
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic began
his bid to hold on to his number one ranking with an easy win over
Gilles Muller in the Paris Masters second round while Andy Murray
struggled through and Stan Wawrinka faltered on Wednesday.
Serb Djokovic, who could be dethroned from the top spot by Wimbledon
champion Murray this week, broke Luxembourger Muller once in each
set to secure a drama-free 6-3 6-4 victory.
The 29-year-old will hold on to his ranking if he reaches the final
"I try to focus on playing match after match and putting quality and
value into my game. I know that if that's the case, then I can
challenge anybody on the world in any surface, in any conditions,"
Djokovic told a news conference.
It went less smoothly for Murray, who overcame a blip to down
Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-7(5) 7-5 before U.S. Open champion
Wawrinka was knocked out by German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6
A long season eventually took its toll on the world number three
from Switzerland, who started brightly but ran out of gas after
being forced into a second-set tie break.
Struff broke in the seventh game of the third set but Wawrinka broke
back to send the match into a decisive tie break, which the German
Murray strolled through the opening set but lost his focus in the
second, netting a backhand to allow Verdasco to level the match.
The Scot, however, recovered quickly, breaking to open a 2-0 lead in
the decider, only for his opponent, who relied on his heavy forehand
and a sliced backhand, to break back and set up two break points at
Murray saved both and ended the contest on his first match point in
the following game.
Japan's Kei Nishikori cruised into the third round with a 6-2 7-5
win over Serbian Viktor Troicki as the race for places at the ATP
Tour Finals gathered pace.
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Kei Nishikori of Japan returns a ball to Marin Cilic of Croatia.
The fifth seed, one of six players to have already qualified for the
season-ending finals in London, breezed through the first set and
quickly broke in the second.
A lapse in concentration by the Japanese, however, allowed world
number 28 Troicki to break back but Nishikori broke again to end the
contest in straight sets.
He will next face either local favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 11th
seed, or Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.
Croatian Marin Cilic set up a third-round clash with Belgium's David
Goffin as both battle for one of two remaining spots for the Nov.
13-20 ATP event at the 02.
Cilic, ninth in the Race to London, beat compatriot Ivo Karlovic
7-6(7) 6-2 while Goffin, who is 11th with an outside chance of
qualifying, beat France's Nicolas Mahut 7-6(5) 6-3.
Dominic Thiem's chances of taking part in the London showdown, took
a big blow when the Austrian, eighth in the Race, lost 6-2 6-4 to
American Jack Sock in the second round.
Former world number one Rafa Nadal is seventh in the Race but has
ended his season and will not play in the Tour finals.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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