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Medvedev and Zverev, last year’s Paris finalists, power into round of 16

2020 Paris runner-up Alexander Zverev kicked off his quest for a tour-leading sixth ATP title of 2021 with a victory on Wednesday in Bercy.

Alexander Zverev Zverev Paris Masters
  • What happened: Alexander Zverev eased past Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, while Daniil Medvedev, powered past Ilya Ivashka.
  • Why it matters: Medvedev, the 2020 Paris champion, and Zverev, the 2020 runner-up, are slated to meet in the semi-finals.
  • You will also learn: Who the two stars face next in Paris.

ATP1000 Paris | Draw | Schedule | 2nd round

Last year’s Rolex Paris Masters finalists held court during Wednesday’s night session in Paris, and both moved closer to an expected semi-final showdown. Daniil Medvedev put a quick ending to night session festivities at the Rolex Paris Masters, handing Ilya Ivaskha of Belarus a 7-5, 6-4 defeat, while Alexander Zverev defeated Dusan Lajovic, 6-4, 7-6(5).

Medvedev opens title defence

The Russian raced out of the gates, claiming a double-break lead over world No 48 Ivashka in the nightcap, but suddenly Medvedev found himself in a heated tussle. Ivashka claimed four games on the trot to level at five-all, but the Belarusian dropped the ball just as things started to get interesting, with Medvedev claiming the final two games to take the opening set.

25-year-old Medvedev is bidding to become the second player in the tournament’s 36-year history to record back-to-back titles – he improved to 51-11 on the season with his victory.

The second set was simpler for the world No 2. He broke for 2-1 and never dropped serve – though he did double-fault on his first two match points before closing out the contest in one hour and 30 minutes.

Medvedev finished with 18 winners, to 16 for Ivaskha.

The Russian will fade American Sebastian Korda in the round of 16 on Thursday.

Zverev tops Lajovic; Dimitrov next

The Alexander Zverev express is rolling through Paris and the German is showing no signs of slowing down. The world No 4 took out Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the round of 16 at the Paris Masters, where he will face 16th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov.

Zverev leads Dimitrov 2-1 in their head-to-head, but the pair have not met since the 2016 Rome Masters.

Zverev: a force since the Olympics started

Zverev has now won 25 of 27 matches dating back to the start of the Olympics, losing only to Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals and Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals at Indian wells during that span. The 24-year-old improves to 53-13 on the season and keeps alive a bid to claim what would be a tour-leading sixth ATP title of 2021.

Zverev struggling with a stiff neck, but overcomes

Zverev, who is currently tied with Norway’s Casper Ruud for the ATP title lead in 2021 with five, had to survive an injury scare on Wednesday night in Paris. He left the court with medical staff to have his neck treated after the fifth game of the opening set.

“I can’t turn my head to the right,” Zverev told the trainer on court before they headed to the locker room.

The German was no worse for the wear and broke in the game after he returned, expanding his lead to 4-2. He closed the opening set in 37 minutes.

The second set was a wild ride. Both players saved three break points in their third service game of the set, with the pair emerging unscathed at 3-all. Zverev had three more chances to break for 5-4 but Lajovic held his own.

Finally it was Zverev who nudged ahead in the tiebreaker – he completed his second match point to conclude the contest in one hour and 40 minutes, improving to 4-0 lifetime against Lajovic.

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