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PREVIEW: 2023 ATP Tour – Paris Masters – Selected Round of 32 Matches

Damien Kayat previews Stan Wawrinka vs Dominic Thiem and Tommy Paul vs Richard Gasquet in selected round of 32 matches of the Paris Masters on the 30th of October 2023.

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland

Damien Kayat previews Stan Wawrinka vs Dominic Thiem and Tommy Paul vs Richard Gasquet in selected round of 32 matches of the Paris Masters on the 30th of October 2023.

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

2023 ATP Tour
Masters 1000
Paris Masters
AccorHotels Area, Paris, France (Indoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 Matches – 30th October

Stan Wawrinka 23/20 | Dominic Thiem 8/13

It really looks like Stan Wawrinka’s legs have betrayed him in these closing moments of the season. The 38-year-old Swiss has had to battle major fluctuations in form due to persistent injury issues.

But the Swiss seemed to have got his act together, reaching the final in Umag before a respectable 3rd round run at the US Open. But he has been dreadful since New York, only winning once in five outings. He is coming off of a disappointing first-round exit in his home event and he probably already has one eye on the beach.

I really wonder how much more of this the perfectionist can take. In any event, he is a three-time Grand Slam champion and he will want to end his season in resounding fashion. He has enjoyed plenty of success in indoor conditions but he has never reached the final of this specific event.

The courts have been slow here for ages but they were sped up prior to last year’s renewal. That might suit Wawrinka as he looks to avoid overly convoluted rallies.

One man who knows a thing or two about injuries and loss of form is Dominic Thiem. The former US Open champion has been absolutely eviscerated by injury in recent years and it’s a real shame.

He really looked a natural successor to Nadal’s clay-court superiority and he had also developed into one of the most accomplished hardcourt players in the world. This has really been a season of treading water for the Austrian. Remember, he dropped out of the top 300 in the world at one stage last season.

He forced his way back into the top 100 last season and he has managed to maintain that position, picking up quarterfinal runs in Estoril and Munich. The clay-court maestro then recorded his first ATP final in three years on his home turf at the Austrian Open.

He has been middling in recent events, picking up an unfortunate draw and bowing out to Tsitsipas in last week’s Swiss Indoors. He has ground his way through qualifying this week and he could do with a solid showing to bolster his ranking and avoid these pesky qualifiers.

Verdict: Wawrinka to win in straight sets – 13/5

Wawrinka actually leads the head-to-head 3-1, winning their last three encounters (including a match here back in 2014). But this will be the first meeting between the two in six years. Wawrinka has been in generally better form this season and I think he should still have too much for Thiem.

Thiem has been struggling with the physical toll of the campaign and I think the qualifying rounds will have drained him (mentally and physically).

Tommy Paul 19/100 | Richard Gasquet 3/1

Versatile American Tommy Paul has enjoyed an extremely consistent campaign. He has reached the quarterfinal stage of nine events throughout the season. Sure, he hasn’t approached Jannik Sinner levels of brilliance on the court.

But he has still managed some fine results, rising to a career-high ranking of 12 in the process. He reached two finals this season (including the biggest of his career at the ATP 500 event in Mexico). He reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final in some style, taking down Carlos Alcaraz en route to the final four in Toronto.

And he started the year in magnificent fashion, going on a herculean run to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final in Melbourne. A recent 4th round run at the US Open bolstered his growing Grand Slam chops. He recently went out at the quarterfinal stage in Japan and he will take some beating this week.

His is a crafty all-court operator who doesn’t mind coming to the net to finish his opponents off.

You have to admire the durability of 37-year-old Frenchman Gasquet. The man with the beautiful single-handed backhand recorded his 600th tour-level win this season.

His recent US Open appearance also marked the 72nd consecutive time he has participated in a Grand Slam event. He started the year in tremendous fashion, winning the 16th title of his career in Auckland. But things have certainly plateaued for Gasquet of late. He has been 2-9 in tour-level matches since his quarterfinal run in Stuttgart.

The legs seem to be running dry and I imagine this might (?) turn out to be his last appearance in front of his adoring home fans. He will probably benefit from the quickening of the courts but can he put side poor recent form and make a real fist of it in front of a highly partisan Parisian crowd?

Verdict: Paul to win in three sets – 11/4

Gasquet won their only previous meeting at last year’s Estoril Open. I think there’s value in backing a tight Paul win. The French crowd tend to galvanize their own and I can see Gasquet winning a set through sheer excitement osmosis.

But I struggle to see him ultimately holding off the wily Paul. Paul creates lovely little crosscourt angles and I can see him running the Frenchman ragged in the latter stages of the match.

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

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