Paris, Nov 3 (efe-epa).- Greek world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas was unable to get over his first hurdle at the Paris Masters, falling to in-form Frenchman Ugo Humbert 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-3) on Tuesday in a match lasting more than three hours.
Tsitsipas, the second seed at this indoor hard-court ATP Tour Masters 1000 event, had been looking to bounce back after an early-round loss last week in Vienna but ran into an opponent who consistently controlled the action with his forehand.
Humbert, meanwhile, continued the strong run of form he showed in capturing last month’s event in Antwerp and now has a seven-match winning streak. He also won his first-round match at the Paris Masters in a third-set tiebreaker, barely edging Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Tuesday’s win marks the second time in Humbert’s career that he has defeated a top-10 player; the Frenchman earlier defeated Russian world No. 5 Daniil Medvedev in September at a clay-court tournament in Hamburg, Germany.
In a contest played behind closed doors, Tsitsipas recorded the first service break of the match to take an early lead in the first set.
But Humbert battled back to force a tiebreaker, which he won thanks to multiple unforced errors by his Greek opponent on the forehand side.
The Frenchman then looked headed for a straight-sets victory when he held three match points at 6-3 in the second-set tiebreaker, but instead Tsitsipas reeled off five consecutive points to force a decider.
In the third set, the two players traded service breaks before the match came down to one final tiebreaker that the underdog Humbert won comfortably.
“It was very, very hard at the end of the second set because I was a little bit stressed and tight to finish the match,” the 22-year-old Frenchman was quoted as saying on the ATP Tour’s website. “I was very relaxed (in the third set). I tried to serve well. It’s very nice to win this kind of match like this.”
Tsitsipas, for his part, said Humbert’s forehand was the difference in the outcome.
“He was just creating a lot of opportunities from his forehand side and doing a lot of damage from there,” the 22-year-old Greek star said. “His serve was very consistent. Despite having opportunities where he would serve second serves (and) I could come in (and) be more aggressive, it didn’t seem as easy as I had it planned in my head.”
Next up for the 34th-ranked Humbert in the round of 16 will be Croatia’s Marin Cilic, who advanced when Frenchman Corentin Moutet was forced to withdraw from the event after testing positive for the coronavirus.
In one other upset in second-round Paris Masters action on Tuesday, Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos defeated eighth-seeded Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). EFE-EPA