Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Corentin Moutet before Tommy Paul takes on Pablo Carreno Busta in the round of 16 at the 2022 Paris Masters. Damien Kayat previews.
2022 ATP Tour
AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France
Selected Ro16 matches
3 November 2022
Stefanos Tsitsipas 1/5 vs Corentin Moutet 33/10
Stefanos Tsitsipas has really enjoyed a wonderful, under-the-radar campaign. His regulation victory over Dan Evans took his record for the year to a staggering 58-21.
He has featured in seven finals this year (winning titles in Monte-Carlo and Mallorca). He is 20-6 in ATP 1000 events, defending his Monte-Carlo crown whilst reaching the finals in Rome and Cincinnati.
He also comes into this event in solid indoor hardcourt form after reaching back-to-back finals in Astana and Stockholm. This week he will be eying his 10th career ATP title.
All that being said, I think the Greek will look back at this season as a disappointment. He probably should have been more ruthless in some of those finals.
But more crucially, he hasn’t been able to get beyond the 4th round of his last three Slams. And when you get to his level- that’s the measure of success. Still, a Paris Masters title should provide some succour after his recent Grand Slam woes.
This event has had the habit of throwing up surprise results over years. Jack Sock beat Filip Krajinovic to win the 2017 title. Karen Khachanov then won the 2018 crown.
Could Corentin Moutet be the next unfancied player to claim the title? He will have to show amazing powers of recovery after his marathon clash with Cameron Norrie.
Moutet is exactly the sort of player who is beloved by this notoriously rowdy Parisian crowd. He whips the home crowd into a frenzy at every opportunity, harnessing every bit of added motivation he can get.
The AccorHotels Arena was probably at around 25% capacity towards the end of the Norrie match. Yet it sounded like a Davis Cup final. He hit an astonishing 46 winners to 28 unforced errors.
He attacked Norrie’s second serve, winning 69% of points on the Brit’s weaker delivery. He hit 30 forehand winners to continue what has been a splendid week for the combustible Frenchman.
He has been in poor form lately, winning a match each in Florence and Napoli before falling in the qualifiers in Vienna. But now he has beaten Coric and Norrie in successive matches. The powerful Tsitsipas has greater artillery and will require even more magic.
Verdict: Tsitsipas to win in straight-sets at 13/20
Tsitsipas leads Moutet 1-0 on the tour proper. That win came all the way back at the 2018 Barcelona Open. It will be interesting to see how Tsitsipas handles the cacophonous atmosphere.
But Tsitsipas is a completely different animal to Norrie. He wins far more cheap points on serve and he can dictate a match with his forehand.
I see him pummelling the backhand court on Moutet’s side (look for plenty of crosscourt forehands).
Tommy Paul 23/20 vs Pablo Carreno Busta 68/100
I wish I had fully committed to my instincts and backed Tommy Paul to down Nadal. I just couldn’t quite muster up the courage to fully discount the elite Spaniard.
But the American picked up the greatest win of his career, coming back from a set and a break down to beat Nadal in three sets. Paul took advantage of Nadal’s weakening state to pummel him into submission, playing ultra-aggressive tennis in these fast indoor conditions.
As Humphrey Bogart says in Casablanca, “we will always have Paris”. I’m pretty sure that Nadal will never have the Paris Masters. That win actually completed an impressive Spanish hat-trick for Paul.
He has now beaten Alcaraz, Nadal and Bautista Agut this year. Can he add Carreno Busta to that hitlist and complete the set? Victory over Carreno Busta would see him progress to his 10th quarterfinal of the year.
It would also see him reach his 2nd Masters 1000 quarterfinal of the campaign.
Pablo Carreno Busta avenged his ATP Cup defeat to Denis Shapovalov, grinding out a tough three-set win over the explosive Canadian. It was a match that really showcased all the hallmarks of the unfussy Spaniard.
He absorbed the Canadian’s power and just wore him down with consistent baseline play. That win took Carreno Busta’s impressive win-loss record for the season to 37-23.
It has been quite an odd year for the two-time US Open semi-finalist. He won a maiden ATP 1000 title in Montreal and he reached the final in Barcelona.
But there have also been a slew of early exits for the phlegmatic baseliner. In fact, he has been knocked out in either the first or second round of 12 events.
That includes 1st round exits at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. But he just seems to have that innate ability to find form out of nowhere. The 31-year-old doesn’t have a stellar record in Paris (his best result was a quarterfinal run in 2020).
Can he finally leave a huge impression on this event?
Verdict: Carreno Busta to win in straight sets at33/20-
This will be the first career meeting between these two. I think it would be easy to fall into the Paul camp after that shock win against Nadal.
But let’s be real, Nadal physically capitulated towards the end of the game. Carreno Busta is one of the fittest players on tour and he is battle-hardened after that Shapovalov epic.
I think he has the defensive capabilities to deal with Paul’s aggression and return it with interest.