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Tennis News • Isner, Coric, And Fognini All Lose At Paris Masters To Pretty Much Set London ATP Finals Field

Roger Federer (R) of Switzerland greets Fabio Fognini (L) of Italy after winning their third round match at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 01 November 2018.  EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON



By Ricky Dimon


It did not take long for the eight-man Nitto ATP Finals field to take shape at this week’s Rolex Paris Masters.


John Isner, Borna Coric, and Fabio Fognini were the last three contenders with chances to surpass at least one player in the current top eight of the race to London. All three lost in the Paris third round on Thursday.


Coric and Fognini were not exactly close to earning a place at the O2 Arena, as both players had to make a Jack Sock-esque run to the Paris title to have a chance. After Coric’s hopes evaporated in the form of a 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5 loss to Dominic Thiem, Fognini succumbed to Roger Federer 6-4, 6-3.


“I think both of us were far from our best, but we fought with what we had and at the end I think I maybe served a bit better in the important moments than Fabio did,” Federer noted. “Off the baseline, it was tough. He takes the ball early and can really redirect really well. But I’m very happy because it means I’m moving on in the tournament.”


Fognini’s tournament–and year–came to end, just as it did for Coric. The Shanghai runner-up got off to a strong start against Thiem before eventually falling after two hours and 28 minutes.


“It was a great fight from both of us from the beginning to the end,” Thiem commented. “Borna is in great shape. He has his career-high right now, so I think I was beating one of the best players right now in the world. That makes me very happy.”


Next up for the Austrian, who will clinch a year-end championship berth with either a trip to the Paris final or an expected withdrawal by Juan Martin Del Potro, is a contest against Sock. The American made a miracle run to last year’s Paris winner’s trophy to secure a stunning bid to the 2017 YEC.


“It’s always fun to play him,” Thiem said of Sock. “We’ve had some great matches in the past; haven’t played for a little while now, so I’m looking forward to that one. Of course I’m trying everything to stop him, but it’s going to be tough–especially here in Bercy.”


Assuming Del Potro pulls out due to a knee problem, the London field will feature Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Federer, Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic, Thiem, and Kei Nishikori.


If Nadal also withdraws, Isner would takes his place. Otherwise the 6’10” American’s chances ended with Thursday’s 6-4, 6-7(9), 7-6(8) setback against Karen Khachanov.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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