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Taylor Fritz wins in Paris to remain in hunt for ATP Finals spot

Rolex Paris Master Tennis Tournament - Day 1

Taylor Fritz during his match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on the center court in Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament 2022 day one. (Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

PARIS -- Taylor Fritz of the United States stayed in contention for one of the two remaining ATP Finals spots by beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 7-5, 6-2 in the first round of the Paris Masters.

The ninth-seeded Fritz rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the opening set and took the second by winning the last four games. Davidovich Fokina made 24 unforced errors to just nine for Fritz.

Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic have already qualified for the ATP Finals.

Fritz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz are in the running to round out the eight-player field.

“It’s been the best season ever,” Fritz said. “No pressure. I’m just trying to have the best result I possibly can. I played well here last year, so I don’t see why I can’t do it again this year.”

Fritz has won titles in Tokyo, Eastbourne and Indian Wells this season. He lost to eventual champion Djokovic in the Paris Masters quarterfinals last year.

No. 13 seed Matteo Berrettini withdrew because of a left foot injury and was replaced by lucky loser Fabio Fognini in the main draw.

Jannik Sinner and Marin Cilic were the only seeded players to get knocked out on Monday.

No. 11 seed Sinner lost to Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-2, 6-3, while No. 15 seed Cilic was stunned by coming Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 6-4.

“I got a bit lucky on some important points,” Huesler said, “I made the right decisions in tight moments.”

John Isner, Cameron Norrie, Karen Khachanov, Maxime Cressy, Richard Gasquet, Yoshihito Nishioka and Nikoloz Basilashvili also advanced into the second round.

Isner made a winning comeback in his return from a wrist injury by downing qualifier Oscar Otte 6-4, 7-6 (3).

The American broke for 4-3 and in the second set he saved two set points at 5-4. He raced to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreaker and his 19th ace won the match.

Isner will next play No. 7 seed Rublev.

Nishioka beat Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4 and will next take on top-ranked Alcaraz.

No. 12 seed Norrie cruised past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-4, while Khachanov ousted Sebastian Baez 6-1, 6-1, and Basilashvili defeated qualifier Quentin Halys 6-3, 6-4.

Wild card Gasquet outclassed Alex Molcan 6-3, 6-1, while Cressy dispatched Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3.