Alex de Minaur has Andy Murray’s number.
In September, the Australian rallied from 2-5 down in the third set against the Scot to triumph in Beijing, saving match points in the process. Fast forward four weeks and history repeated itself at the Rolex Paris Masters on Monday. De Minaur battled from 2-5 behind in Paris, saving one match point to defeat former champion Murray 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5.
The Australian hung tough in a three-hour battle against the former World No. 1. He saved the match point when Murray was serving at 5-4, 40/30 and won the final five games of the match to improve 6-0 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series. Four of their meetings have come in 2023.
With his 43rd win of the year, De Minaur kept alive his slim Nitto ATP Finals qualification chances. The 24-year-old is 13th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, 685 points behind Holger Rune, who occupies the final qualification spot in eighth.
De Minaur, who is 14-4 in first rounds this year, will next play French wild card Benjamin Bonzi or Serbian lucky loser Dusan Lajovic.
Murray lifted the trophy in Paris in 2016 and was trying to earn his first match win at the ATP Masters 1000 event since that run seven years ago. The Scot squandered his chances from 5-2 up, though, pushing the ball short at times to allow De Minaur to dictate. The 36-year-old leaves Paris holding a 16-17 tour-level record on the season.
In other action, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina earned his 30th ATP Masters 1000 match win, defeating #NextGenATP American Ben Shelton 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3.
The Spaniard, whose best result at this level was a run to the final in Monte-Carlo in 2022, holds a 11-4 record against left handers, winning the past five matches he has played against them. Davidovich Fokina will next face Tallon Griekspoor after the Dutchman downed Christopher Eubanks 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4.
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Frances Tiafoe’s outside Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes came to an end when he lost against Alexander Bublik. The World No. 33 overcame American Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4 to earn his first Masters 1000 hard-court win since Miami in 2022. Bublik, who won 30 of his 34 first-serve points against Tiafoe, will play Nicolas Jarry in the second round following the Chilean’s 7-5, 7-6(6) win against Alexei Popyrin.
Tiafoe leaves Paris 980 points behind Holger Rune, who occupies the final qualification spot in eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.