Alex de Minaur crushes a backhand against Laslo Djere. Picture: Getty Images
Alex de Minaur crushes a backhand against Laslo Djere. Picture: Getty Images

Demon makes perfect start to Paris Masters

AUSTRALIAN No.1 Alex de Minaur booked his place in the second round of the Paris Masters after a straight sets win over Serbian Laslo Djere.

De Minaur, who rose to world No.18 after his impressive run to the final of the ATP 500 event in Basel at the weekend where he lost to Roger Federer, beat Djere 6-1 6-4 on Tuesday to earn the right to play Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut next.

It was the Sydneysider's 33rd win for the season.

Elsewhere, defending champion Karen Khachanov was dethroned by Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff after succumbing to a 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-5 second-round defeat.

Russia's Khachanov was edged out in a tie-break but battled back to win the first three games of the second set.

The 29-year-old Struff, ranked 36th in the world, broke serve first in the deciding frame to lead 3-1, but Khachanov again came back to level at 3-3.

World No. 8 Khachanov, who beat Novak Djokovic to the 2018 Paris title, served for a sudden death tie-break at 6-5 but made a forehand error to give Struff a match point.

And Struff duly converted the chance by casting an overhead shot that brushed the baseline to move into the third round after a two-hour battle.

Meanwhile, French lucky loser Corentin Moutet will play top-seeded Djokovic in the second phase after overcoming the world No. 1's fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-4 1-6 6-3.

Taylor Fritz succeeded in an all-American affair by besting compatriot Frances Tiafoe 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-4.

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