All eleven seeds in action on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris advanced. Second seed Andy Murray's win over Borna Coric sets up a Davis Cup preview against Belgian David Goffin.
Murray Crushes Coric
Second seed Andy Murray demolished Borna Coric 6-1, 6-2 to open play in Paris. For Murray, it was a nice change from when they met in Dubai early in the season. Coric stunned Murray 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of that tournament in February. Murray was in complete control as he won 91 percent of his first serve points and broke Coric twice in each set. After the match, Murray said he felt he did everything well against Coric, "Today was a good start. I like the conditions here. I feel like I hit the ball well and defended."
The win sets up a tasty preview of this month's Davis Cup final with Murray facing 16th seeded David Goffin in the next round in Paris. Goffin cruised past Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-2 to reach the third round. Goffin ripped apart Lajovic's second serve by winning 17 of the 24 points played. The Belgian has now won seven of his last ten matches on indoor hard courts in 2015. That includes three wins in Davis Cup play. Murray told the BBC following his win today that he looks forward to battling Goffin ahead of the Davis Cup final, "It's good to play against him but I will obviously, before the tie, watch matches of him playing on clay to learn and understand his game better on that surface."
Berdych Edges Roger-Vasselin Late
Fifth seed Tomas Berdych was pushed to the brink by Eduoard Roger-Vasselin. The Czech escaped with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory. Berdych was nervy on serve in both of the first two sets as Roger-Vasselin broke him to open the match, but could not hold that lead. Berdych broke back to square the opening set 1-1 and then secured another break of the Frenchman's serve to go up 4-2 in the first. Berdych fell behind early again in the second with Roger-Vasselin darting out to a 2-0 lead. Sloppy play saw both broken twice more in the set with the Frenchman getting the key break in the tenth game to snag the second set.
Berdych saved his best tennis of the day for the final set which saw him continuing to struggle with his first serve. He was able to hold comfortably in most games though by utlizing a good second serve. After exchanging holds for ten games, Berdych finally got a look at a break chance from Roger-Vasselin in the 11th game. He converted and then held to close out the match.
Nishikori and Nadal Advance
Sixth seed Kei Nishikori went the distance to out duel a pesky Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-1. Chardy bombed Nishikori with 16 aces, but it was the sixth seed who finished far stronger. After two tense sets, the sixth seed was all over Chardy's serve in the final set. Nishikori won 62 percent of the points off the Frenchman's serve and closed out the match by winning the last six games of the third set. He broke Chardy three times on seven break chances in the set after Chardy had saved ten of eleven break chances through the first two sets.
7th seed Rafael Nadal easily handled Lukas Rosol 6-2, 6-2. It was a stark contrast from their match last week in Basel where Nadal dropped the first set 6-1 and trailed by a break in the second set before turning things around for a three set win. The slower conditions in Paris seemed very much to Nadal's benefit as he looked sharp on serve throughout the match. The Spaniard won 23 of 25 points on his first serve. He was into Rosol's service games routinely as he broke the Czech twice in each set. In his post-match press conference, Nadal said he is finding great joy as the season winds down with his ability to grind out wins, "What makes me happy in recent weeks is to be again able to find solutions on the court."
In other action on Wednesday, Grigor Dimitrov took down 12th seeded Marin Cilic 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2). Dimitrov crushed 14 aces and saved all ten break points he faced in the match. The tightness of the match was reflected in the final tally with Dimitrov winning 96 points to 92 for Cilic. Tenth seed Richard Gasquet cruised in his first match this week 6-2, 7-5 over Leonardo Mayer. Gasquet won 41 of 48 points on serve. He scored the decisive break in the second set in the 12th game after both men had held serve equally through the first eleven games of the set. Fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had no trouble with Roberto Bautista-Agut. The ninth smashed the Spaniard 6-2, 6-2 and will now face Berdych in the next round.
13th seeded John Isner slipped past Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 7-6 (3). Isner scorched Bedene with 21 aces and won 49 of 57 points on serve. The win marks just the second time since 2012 that the American has not dropped his opening match in Paris. In one of the final two matches on Court 1 on Wednesday, Viktor Troicki won a back and forth battle with Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-4. Troicki was down 4-0 in the second and 3-1 in the third, before storming back in both sets to pull out an improbable win. The final match of the day was a thriller with 11th seed Kevin Anderson squeaking past Dominic Thiem 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5). Anderson dished out 30 aces to offset seven double faults.
Day Four Schedule
Thursday's schedule in Paris will be highlighted by the clash between Andy Murray and David Goffin which opens play on Court Cenrtral. Other key matches include Kei Nishikori battling Richard Gasquet and Roger Federer set up to take on John Isner. The final two matches on the main court will feature Tomas Berdych against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Rafael Nadal squaring off against Kevin Anderson.