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PREVIEW: 2022 ATP Tour – Paris Masters – Selected Ro32 matches

Pablo Carreno Busta faces Denis Shapolvalov, and Rafa Nadal takes on Tommy Paul in the round of 32 at the ATP Tour’s Paris Masters. Damien Kayat previews.

Denis Shapovalov - Paris Masters
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Pablo Carreno Busta faces Denis Shapolvalov, and Rafa Nadal takes on Tommy Paul in the round of 32 at the ATP Tour’s Paris Masters. Damien Kayat previews.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 ATP Tour
Masters 1000
Paris Masters
AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France
Selected Round of 32 Matches- 2nd November

Pablo Carreno Busta 96/100 | Denis Shapovalov 82/100

Former two-time US Open semi-finalist has compiled yet another highly respectable record in what has been a quietly underrated season. His comfortable victory against Albert Vinolas-Ramos took his win-loss record to 36-23 for the year.

Carreno Busta’s success this season has been built largely around two big results. He lost in the Barcelona final to Carlos Alcaraz. But he crucially won his maiden ATP 1000 title in Canada.

He does, however, enter this year’s Paris Masters in slightly iffy form, dropping out at the quarterfinal stage in each of his last three events. He would have been especially disappointed with those quarterfinal exits in Gijon and Napoli.

His victory over Ramos-Vinolas means he is 5-4 in his last nine matches. Perhaps the return of ATP 1000 action will bring out the best in him again.

Shapovalov is actually making his first appearance in this event since his shock run to the final in 2019 (where he would ultimately lose to Paris expert Novak Djokovic).

And he entered this event amid an excellent late-season surge that is papering over the cracks of a pretty substandard year. He was 11-4 in his 15 matches coming into this event, losing in the final of both the Korea and Vienna Opens.

He pushed eventual champ, Danil Medvedev, all the way in Sunday’s final in Vienna. And that effort showed as he had to pull out all the stops in his opening match against clay-court specialist Cerundolo.

It certainly looked like he was still feeling the lingering effects of that Medvedev epic. Still, the victory means he is now 12-4 in his last 16 matches. He will feel confident that his big serve and massive forehand will destabilise Carreno Busta’s solid defensive game.

Verdict: Carreno Busta to win in straight sets at 22/10

These two are certainly no strangers to each other. Carreno Busta leads the head-to-head rivalry 4-2. The Spaniard actually held a 4-0 record against Shapovalov on hard surfaces coming into 2022.

But the Canadian raised his game to beat the Spaniard comfortably in this year’s ATP Cup final. I think Shapovalov will struggle with the physical tax of both last week’s heroics and that Cerundolo slugfest.

Carreno Busta looked laser-focused in his first match, and I think he will wear Shapovalov down, causing the Canadian to spew errors.

Rafa Nadal 1/3 | Tommy Paul 22/10

It has been a magnificent year for Nadal (all the more impressive because his 2021 season was cut short by injury). He won his first three events of the year (including his 21st Grand Slam title at the Aussie Open).

But he picked up an injury in the Indian Wells final that affected his normally dominant clay-court season. Still, he could not be deterred at Roland Garros, reclaiming the French Open title and extending his record Grand Slam haul to 22.

But injury struck again for Nadal, forcing him to miss the Wimbledon semi-finals. He has been largely underwhelming since then. It will be interesting to see how Rafa fares in the opening stages this week.

He has barely played any tennis since being eliminated in the 4th round of the US Open (he made an appearance in a Laver Cup doubles match to commemorate the retirement of great rival Federer).

The vastly experienced Spaniard is a past master at handling these periods of inactivity. But he hasn’t got a stellar indoor hardcourt record, and he has only reached the final here on one occasion (making it possibly his least successful Masters 1000 venue).

Tommy Paul has quietly made real breakthroughs this year, cracking the top 30 in the world rankings for the first time in his career. The 25-year-old American reached his maiden Grand Slam fourth round at Wimbledon.

He also managed to make his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal at the Canadian Open. The striking thing about Paul’s season is the levels of consistency.

He has only reached one semi-final this year (at the Delray Beach Open). But he was eliminated at the quarterfinal stage in eight different events. I’m sure he would have liked to convert some of those results into more tangible success.

But it just shows how close the American has been to having a potentially great season. Let’s not forget that he beat ATP wunderkind Carlos Alcaraz in his Canadian Open run.

He just beat the dogged Roberto Bautista Agut in straight-sets, hitting 25 winners in comparison to 20 unforced errors. He will feel confident of causing an undercooked Nadal some problems.

Verdict: Nadal to win in three at 26/10

Nadal won their only previous encounter in straight-sets at this year’s Mexican Open. This all boils down to the state of Nadal. As I noted earlier, he isn’t most comfortable on indoor hardcourts and may take a bit of time to acclimatize.

He will probably look to shorten the points to limit the impact on his body. I expect him to start slow but grow into the match. The best value probably lies in a three-set win for Nadal.

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