Novak Djokovic began his Paris Masters campaign with a straight-sets victory over Joao Sousa on Tuesday, while Roger Federer confirmed his participation at the event for the first time since 2015.
Djokovic beat Sousa 7-5, 6-1 to advance into the next round. A win or at least a better performance than Rafael Nadal, here can help him topple the Spaniard to the world No.1 ranking.
A four-time winner here, the Serbian had never dropped a set against Sousa before but looked on course for his first game loss when the Portuguese Sousa led 4-1 in the opening game. But Djokovic bounced back to make it 6-5 before sealing the set with a smash.
Back to his best, the 14-time Grand Slam winner gave little opportunity to Sousa winning five consecutive games in the second set and will face Damir Dzumhur in the last 16. Damir defeated 14th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3.
Meanwhile, Federer, who last won the Paris Masters in 2011, will face Canada’s Milos Raonic in the round of 16 on Wednesday after getting a bye in the first round. Raonic ousted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) in the first round.
The Swiss legend’s last appearance at the French Indoor tournament almost three years ago ended with a defeat to John Isner of America in the last 16 round.
It will also be his first non-Grand Slam tournament Federer will be playing ever since the Indian Wells Masters in 2017.
“I feel like it’s better for me to play matches rather than practice, and I think that’s it. As long as I don’t feel like I’m taking a chance on my health prior to London (the ATP Tour Finals), that’s the key as well,” said Federer happy to be back after injuries kept him out in the last two years.
Meanwhile, Marin Cilic advanced into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber, while Gilles Simon overcame Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal is set to begin his campaign against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who won 6-4, 6-4 against France’s Jeremy Chardy.