Rolex Paris Masters: Medvedev and FAA arrive in top gear

The Vienna and Basel champions turn their attention to Paris, hoping to continue their standout form in Bercy.

Félix Auger-Aliassime / Rolex Paris Masters 2021©Cédric Lecocq / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

The European indoor circuit has already served up some sensational tennis and last week was no exception.

Over in Austria and Switzerland two Top 10 talents exemplified why they are two of the finest players on the planet.

Daniil toasts fatherhood in style

First event as a father, first title. Not a bad return to action for Daniil Medvedev.

The world No.4 captured his 15th career title with some trademark antics in Vienna. Whipped on-the-run passing shots, unreadable serving, the mischievous game of Medvedev was in full swing.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old backed up wins over Dominic Thiem, Jannik Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov to overcome Denis Shapovalov 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to cue champagne spraying celebrations.

“I am really happy. This match was the best of the week because Denis was really playing unreal until probably 4-3 in the second set,” stated Medvedev after lifting his second trophy of 2022. “He dropped his level by maybe two per cent and I was able to use it.”

Medvedev was supremely dominant in Austria, not dropping a set or surrendering a service game until the final to earn his ticket to the ATP Finals next month.

The world No.4 heads to France for the Rolex Paris Masters, which he won in 2020, the same season he was hailed champion at the ATP Finals.

“I like to play indoor hard courts at the end of the season,” added Medvedev. “I feel that I do a great job with my team not to arrive burnt out. I am looking forward to the last two tournaments of the year which are really important and I usually play well.”

The 26-year-old opens his account in the second round and will face either Sebastian Korda or Alex de Minaur.

13 and counting for FAA

Three weeks, three finals, three titles. Felix Auger-Aliassime is entrenched in a career-best 13-match winning streak.

The Canadian’s latest triumph occurred in Basel, where he emulated his idol Roger Federer with the Swiss silverware 6-3, 7-5 against Next Gen prodigy Holger Rune.

Replicating his form from Florence and Antwerp, the world No.9 blazed through the field in Basel without being broken and without dropping a set.

“It’s been an amazing week,” said the elated Canadian. “It’s been a long year, a long stretch of wins, and it’s not over. So hopefully I can keep going, but right now I’m feeling all the good emotions that come with winning a tournament. It’s amazing.”

The 22-year-old was in no-miss-mode to swat aside Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 6-0 in just 46 minutes earlier in the Basel draw, which he described as the “best match of my life, not my career, since I was a little kid.”

No hyperbole here, Auger-Aliassime was competing at a level Federer would have been proud of. So much so, the Canadian smothered any openings for world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-final, breezing to victory 6-3, 6-2 to rubber stamp his hot streak.

“I never expected it, when I was in Florence three weeks ago, or after the US Open. I’m just really happy that all my work is coming together,” continued the world No.9.

“I’ve always believed that I can play this way, that I can be consistent in that way, but one thing is to believe and the other is to actually do it. It’s nice to feel that way. So hopefully this is just the beginning of seeing me play this way.”

Auger-Aliassime also takes his next competitive steps in Bercy, with a Basel re-match with Alexander Bublik or a clash with qualifier Mikael Ymer.

Due to his three-peat title heroics, the 22-year-old has launched into sixth place in the ‘Race to Turin.’ He’ll look for a strong run in Paris in order to fend off competition to qualify for his ATP Finals debut next month.

Four players are now vying for the final two spots in Turin; Auger-Aliassime, Andrey Rublev in seventh and then Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz. Only lifting the trophy in Bercy will give Fritz or Hurkacz a chance.

See the full Rolex Paris Masters draw below, including in-form Basel runner-up Holger Rune’s mouth-watering clash with three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.