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Paris Masters: Huesler stuns Sinner in opener

Paris, Oct 31 (IANS) Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler did not hold back on his ATP Masters main draw debut and delivered a high-quality performance to beat 11th seed Jannik Sinner 6-2, 6-3 in the first-round of Paris Masters, here on Monday.

The 26-year-old Huesler lifted his maiden tour-level title on indoor hard courts in Sofia at the beginning of October but had gone 0-3 since.

After defeating Hugo Gaston and Laslo Djere in qualifying in Paris, however, the lefty brought his big-serving, aggressive best to the clash against Sinner. He fired 20 winners, including six aces, to down the World No. 12 in 68 minutes.

“(It feels) really big. I’ve had a great season… I had two good matches in the qualies, I came out here and had nothing to lose today. That helped me play very aggressively. It was not his best match, for sure, but I had to be ready to take that [opportunity]. I just stayed at it, and I’m really happy with the win,” said Huesler.

Huesler was the only player to win a set against eventual champion Felix Auger-Aliassime in Basel last week and the World No 61 believes his level did not drop significantly despite his tough run of results post-Sofia.

Having only broken the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in July, he is now growing accustomed to performing on the biggest stages the ATP Tour has to offer.

“I think the experience these past weeks helped a lot. Last week I played a tough match against Felix [Auger-Aliassime] in Basel with a full crowd, which was full preparation for here. The centre court here is amazing, it was a lot of fun to play. I just tried to focus on the next point every time, got a bit lucky on some important points and made the right decisions in tight moments, and today I was better,” said Huesler.

Huesler’s second-round opponent in Paris will be Karen Khachanov. The 2018 champion needed little time on Monday to find his feet again in the French capital, where he raced to a 6-1, 6-1 first-round victory against Sebastian Baez.

A challenging prospect for Huesler, but the Swiss admitted he was relishing the opportunity to take on another Top 20 star.

“Karen is a big server, for sure. I played against him once before in the Davis Cup, lost in two sets there,” said Huesler.

“Honestly every guy here is hard to beat, I’m thrilled to play against these guys. I’m here to do my best and I have a lot of confidence in my game. I’m sure the serve is going to be very important for both of us, so let’s see how it goes,” he added.

–IANS

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