PARIS (Reuters) – Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev suffered a shock defeat by home favourite Jeremy Chardy on a bad day for Russians at the Paris Masters on Tuesday but Alexander Zverev boosted his chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals.
Medvedev, who will make his debut at the ATP Finals in London next month after a barnstorming season, lost for the first time since the U.S. Open final, going down 4-6 6-2 6-4.
Earlier defending champion Karen Khachanov was bundled out by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, losing 7-6(5) 3-6 7-5.
The 29-year-old Struff finished off the eighth seed with a superb smash from the baseline. Defeat ruled Khachanov out of the running for the ATP Finals.
Medvedev was on a nine-match winning run taking in St Petersburg and Shanghai where he took his tally of titles this season to four, but he came up against an inspired Chardy.
The Russian, who had reached six successive finals, looked in control when he took the first set but he ultimately paid for failing to convert 14 of the 15 break points he carved out.
Chardy even saved one as he served for the match in the decider, going on to reach the third round at the Paris event for the first time at the 10th attempt.
Chardy will face Chile’s Cristian Garin or 2016 finalist John Isner of the U.S. in the next round.
Struff chiselled out a tough first set with a backhand winner at 5-5 in the tiebreak before serving an ace.
Khachanov roared back to win 12 of the first 17 points of the second set on his way to levelling.
Struff let slip a 3-1 lead in the decider but broke again when Khachanov served at 5-6.
Zverev, who won last season’s ATP Finals and is bidding to take one of the remaining two slots for this year’s event with a strong showing in Paris, needed less than an hour to beat Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-1 6-3.
The German, who is seventh in the Race to London standings, will face Denis Shapovalov or Fabio Fognini in the next round.
Top seed Novak Djokovic begins with a second-round clash against French lucky loser Corentin Moutet.
Second seed Rafa Nadal, playing his first tournament since getting married this month, also begins against a Frenchman in wildcard Adrian Mannarino.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)