We head into the final Masters of the season with three ATP Finals places up for grabs with four players left in the Race, including Taylor Fritz who begins his Paris campaign tomorrow. As always, we here at LWOT will preview and predict every match. Who do you think will win?
ATP Paris Masters Day 1 Predictions
Andy Murray vs Gilles Simon
Head-to-head: Murray 16-2 Simon
These two old foes get to come together for one last match, the 19th of their illustrious careers, one of which could come to an end here. Gilles Simon has announced that the 2022 season will be his last as the 37-year-old fell off the main tour and has been largely unable to be a threat at the Challenger level.
Murray, meanwhile, has had his winningest season since 2017 with a 29-19 record. Simon comes in with questions around his fitness as he withdrew from the Brest Challenger last week at the quarterfinal stage. With the head-to-head as lopsided as we have here, we have to predict Murray to win this one, though the two have not played since 2016. The Brit’s indoor hard results have been far from amazing in recent weeks but with wins over the likes of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or Roman Safiullin, he should handle Simon’s level here.
Prediction: Murray in 2
Aslan Karatsev vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Head-to-head: first meeting
It has been a rough season for Karatsev on the main tour, going 18-30 on the year and dropping out of the Top 50. The Russian has not had back-to-back wins since Hamburg in July and has gone 3-7 0n indoor hard this autumn. It has been the polar opposite for Nishioka. The 27-year-old reached the biggest final of his career at the ATP 500 in Washington in the summer before earning his second ATP title in Seoul. Nishioka now sits at his career-high ranking of 37. The Japanese player has looked decent on the European indoor hard, reaching the quarterfinals of Antwerp before qualifying for Vienna and taking a set off Taylor Fritz. The two have never played before but on current form, it is clear that Nishioka should take the lead in their head-to-head.
Prediction: Nishioka in 2
Taylor Fritz vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Head-to-head: Davidovich Fokina 2-1 Fritz
Taylor Fritz enters the most important week of the season for him as his appearance at the ATP Finals is still up in the air. The American is sitting in the eighth spot in the Race as he essentially battles against Hubert Hurkacz for it with Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime very likely to qualify. The 25-year-old looked great in his Tokyo title run at the beginning of the month but the same version of him did not turn up in Vienna as he struggled through the first round against Yoshihito Nishioka before losing Denis Shapovalov in the second round.
Davidovich Fokina will be a difficult opponent for Fritz as the Spaniard has won two of their previous three meetings, though all were on clay. Davidovich Fokina is yet to register a win since the US Open but he absolutely relishes in a big match and always rises up to the occasion. If the Spaniard turns up with good form, he will be a big test for Fritz though I believe he will pass with the stakes at hand.
Prediction: Fritz in 3
Main Photo from Getty.