TENNIS: The Rolex Paris Masters have been as enthralling as anticipated and only looks to be getting juicer heading into the quarter-finals. We preview two of the best fixtures below.
Novak Djokovic v Lorenzo Musetti
The Wimbledon champion and ATP world number seven Novak Djokovic is in fine form in Paris, and you’d back him for the title knowing what he has done in his career.
However, as is with all professional sports, it is not about the past; it is about the here and now, current form and fitness. Choosing to follow that path, forgetting Djokovic’s 38 ATP Masters titles, 21 Grand Slams, and six previous Paris Masters winner’s medals, looking at how he has played in the last few months should be a good indicator of how well he will fare here.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t paint a much different picture as his one loss in his last 21 matches and his Wimbledon, Tel Aviv and Astana titles since July show he is still in the top two in the world and head and shoulders above almost everyone else.
Despite the ability of his opponent Lorenzo Musetti, who is proving to be one of the top players, beating US and French Open finalist Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic already in this tournament, it will be hard not to back Djokovic at 1.14 to cruise into the semi-finals. Not many players beat Djokovic in this kind of form.
Musetti does have some talent up his sleeve, however, playing exceptionally well in Paris so far and only dropping one set in his first three matches. He has also proven he can defeat the world’s best with victories over Carlos Alcaraz and Matteo Berrettini this year. Still, his odds of 7.8 speak for themselves, and we will likely be saying goodbye to the Italian, who could suffer at the hands of one of the best of all time.
Stefanos Tsitsipas v Tommy Paul
The world number five, Stefanos Tsitsipas, has a good chance of progressing to the semi-finals in Paris, coming up against the world number 31, Tommy Paul, who has only one ATP title to his name. Tsitsipas, on the other hand, has won nine titles in his career since 2018 and reached 15 finals, cementing himself in the top 10 players in the world ever since.
Tsitsipas consistently beats players lower in the rankings than him and always seems to be in the final rounds of Masters and Grand Slam tournaments, and though he often fails to convert these good positions into genuine title threats, he is not a player that anyone on the tour will be happy to draw against.
Tommy Paul is a similar player, always hanging around the best in the world but never quite breaking through to the highest level. In this sense, they are well-matched, and this is much harder to predict than the previous match.
In previous ties, Tsitsipas has won the two times they have met; their last competitive match came in 2021 when Tsitsipas triumphed in straight sets. Tsitsipas has a win probability of 67% with BETDAQ analysis, but he is known for his sporadic dips in form, so don’t write off Tommy Paul. Paul can be backed at 3.05, with Tsitsipas at 1.46, though looking at the form of Paul, who beat Rafael Nadal only two days ago, this one could go either way.