Humbert stuns No 2 seed Tsitsipas in marathon at Paris Masters

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Frenchman Ugo Humbert advanced to the second round of the Rolex Paris Masters after he edged out No 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a classic second-round match, winning 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.

Rolex Paris Masters second round

HUMBERT d. TSITSIPAS (2) 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3).

  • The key information: There was nothing between the players, Humbert winning two points fewer but one more game in this classic match, which lasted three hours, 16 minutes.
  • You will also learn: This was always going to be a tricky first match for No 2 seed Tsitsipas against a man who had disposed of Casper Ruud in the opening round. The draw led to a Nadal v Tsitsipas final, so all eyes were on this one but the Greek struggled, his injury from Roland-Garros beginning to affect him as the match wore on.
  • Why read this story: Humbert’s victory means he now faces Marin Cilic in the round of 16.

Tsitsipas had arrived in Paris with high hopes but left disappointed as Humbert, one of the hottest prospects on the ATP Tour, edged him out in an epic, bruising encounter. The leg injury that affected Tsitsipas at Roland-Garros seemed to hamper him as the match progressed and Humbert took his chance to record a superb win.

The Greek began well, breaking Humbert at the first time of asking as the Frenchman hit long and opening up a 3-0 lead. But the left-handed Humbert hit back immediately, breaking and then levelling at 3-3.

The alarm bells began ringing at 5-5 as Tsitsipas found himself 15-40 and staring a first-set deficit in the face. Two big serves bailed the Greek out and, two games later, the set went to a deserved tiebreak.

Tsitsipas has enjoyed a strong 2020 despite the obvious restrictions imposed on the world at large, the Greek winning a fifth ATP title in Marseille, also reaching the semi-final of the French Open and advancing his ranking to No 6 in the world. But it was his younger opponent who forced the momentum and grabbed the opener 7-6, a big serve out wide winning the breaker 7-4.

The second set was equally tight, Tsitsipas squandering two break points in game seven before Humbert had a break point to serve for the match. Almost inevitably, the second set also went to a tiebreak and it looked for the world that the match was Humbert’s when he led 6-3. But when three match points came and went, Tsitipas snatched the set and levelled the match.

And with the clock ticking well past the three-hour mark, a third successive breaker would decide the outcome of this marathon. Again it was the Frenchman who grabbed the early initiative and this time, he would not relinquish his grip to seal a famous win on home turf, yet sadly to an empty audience.

Victory for Humbert means that he now faces Marin Cilic, conqueror of Felix Auger Aliassime, in the round of 16, while Tsitsipas will now try to recover in time for the Nitto ATP Finals, which begin in London on November 15.

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