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PREVIEW: 2023 ATP Tour – Paris Masters – Selected Round of 16 Matches

Damien Kayat previews Novak Djokovic vs Tallon Griekspoor and Jannik Sinner vs Alex de Minaur in Selected Round of 16 Matches of the Paris Master

Novak Djokovic of Serbia
EPA/Mohammed Badra

Damien Kayat previews Novak Djokovic vs Tallon Griekspoor and Jannik Sinner vs Alex de Minaur in Selected Round of 16 Matches of the Paris Master

Jamie Moore's Diary - jockey talks Goshen and Ascot rides

2023 ATP Tour
Masters 1000
Paris Masters
AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France (Indoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 16 Matches – 2nd November

Novak Djokovic 1/111 | Tallon Griekspoor 5/1

The undisputed king of Paris, Novak Djokovic will be looking to win a record-extending 7th Paris-Bercy title this week (not to mention a record-extending 40th Masters final). He will feel like he has some unfinished business here following his surprise loss to Holger Rune in last year’s final.

And he comes into this tournament after one of the greatest seasons of his storied career. He competed in all four Grand Slam finals this calendar year (winning three of them). He took a well-deserved hiatus after his US Open win and some may have anticipated a bit of ring rust this week.

That certainly wasn’t the case in his opener against Tomas Etcheverry, where he dropped just five games in a ruthless 83-minute rout. That win took him to 47-5 for the season and 46-9 in this specific event. Djokovic also knows that winning this week’s title will virtually assure him of ending the season as the World No.1 player.

This is clearly going to be a significant mountain for Tallon Griekspoor to climb. But let’s not underestimate the significant strides that the Dutchman has made this campaign. He has reached the first three finals of his career this year, winning titles in Pune and Rosmalen before losing to Dan Evans in Washington.

He has also reached the Rotterdam semi-finals and four other quarterfinals. This included last week’s Swiss Indoors, where he narrowly lost to in-form Pole Hubert Hurkacz in a tight final-eight match. He had to grind it out against the unpredictable Eubanks in his opener this week, coming back from a set down to see off the dangerous American in three sets.

He looked far more assured in his last outing, brushing aside Davidovich Fokina for the loss of just four games. That win against the Spaniard took him to a highly respectable 36-22 for the season (and 2-0 on his tournament debut). Greikspoor isn’t expected to put up much of a fight in this encounter and this could liberate him to play some aggressive tennis.

Verdict: Djokovic to win in three – 7/2

Djokovic has easily beaten Griekspoor in their two previous meetings (including at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships). This is really the only way to play a match this heavily one-sided. Can I see Griekspoor’s big-serving, aggressive approach overcoming the genius counterpunching skills of Djokovic?

No. Is there a multiverse outcome where Greikspoor could steal a set off Djokovic along the way? Sure. The Dutchman went toe-to-toe with Hurkacz in Basel and he has the quality to compete with anyone.

Jannik Sinner  4/11 | Alex de Minaur 9/5

That was the most uncomfortable I have seen Jannik Sinner on a tennis court for quite some time. Sinner is arguably the hottest player in men’s tennis right now, winning three of his last six events to cement his status a true World No.1 threat.

He has enjoyed an amazing season, reaching six finals and winning four titles. He reached the final in Miami before capturing his maiden ATP 1000 title in Montreal (where he conquered his upcoming opponent for the 5th consecutive time). He also enjoyed Grand Slam success with a debut semi-final run at Wimbledon.

So why did he look so vulnerable against Mackenzie McDonald? Clearly jaded by his Vienna title run, Sinner had to fight back from a set down to overcome the unfancied American. Has Sinner’s exhaustive season started to catch up to him? Or has he possibly taken his foot off the gas with his place in Turin secured?

Alex de Minaur’s season may not have reached the stratospheric heights of Jannik Sinner. But the Aussie counterpuncher has still enjoyed a career-best campaign, reaching four finals with his unique brand of high-intensity perseverance.

He won his first ATP 500 event in Mexico before a barnstorming run to his maiden ATP 1000 final in Montreal. He obviously lost that Montreal final in convincing fashion to Sinner. But it has nonetheless proved to be a very fruitful season for the Aussie.

His defensive brand of tennis does tend to wear the body down (just ask Cameron Norrie about that). This has resulted in some slightly lacklustre showings during this closing stretch of the campaign.

His performances this week have really typified the man: he has beaten Murray and Lajovic in three-hour slogs. Will he have enough gas in the tank to overcome a terrible record against the phenomenal Italian?

Verdict: De Minaur to win in three sets 4/1

Sinner has utterly dominated this head-to-head rivalry, leading the Aussie 5-0. This included his comfortable victory in this year’s Canadian Open final. So why do I think De Minaur could pull off an upset against arguably the hottest player in men’s tennis? Well, every now and again you have to opt for the crazy upset.

I just think that the ‘Speed Demon’ is one of the few players who can match Sinner’s improved physicality. De Minaur has enjoyed an exceptional season and I think he will have learned a lot from that Toronto final. Sinner has played an awful lot of tennis recently and his ultra-late finish against McDonald will have done him no favours.

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