PARIS: Croatia's Borna Coric produced a solid serving display to beat Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics 7-6(5) 6-1 in the opening round of the Paris Masters on Monday (Nov 2).
After an early trade of service breaks, Fucsovics held a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak before a lapse in concentration allowed Coric to secure the first set en-route his 16th match win of the season.
Coric, seeded 15th, won 35 of his 48 first-serve points to set up a second round clash with Australian Jordan Thompson, who overcame Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-2 6-3.
"It was not an easy match, and every time we have played it's been very tough," said Coric, who recorded his third straight victory over Fucsovics.
"I played one bad game at 2-1 in the first set, when I missed two first serves, but pretty much the rest of the time I was serving huge."
Despite clinching an opening-set bagel, 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic was made to work hard by Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime before he posted a 6-0 3-6 6-3 victory.
Auger-Aliassime leaked 14 unforced errors in the opening set but found a way past his Croatian opponent in the second, needing 21 minutes to engineer a break of serve in the eighth game.
The 20-year-old, however, needed a medical timeout early in the third set due to a hip issue, which allowed Cilic to regroup and book a spot in the second round.
Earlier, Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez saved six set points in the opening set tiebreak to edge out Serbia's Filip Krajinovic 7-6(11) 6-1.
Lopez will next face compatriot Rafa Nadal, who is bidding for a record-equalling 36th Masters title this week.
The tournament is held without spectators because of the lockdown measures in France amid the COVID-19 pandemic.