Ugo Humbert added another highlight to his breakthrough 2020 ATP Tour season on Tuesday, as he earned one of the biggest victories of his career at the Rolex Paris Masters.
The talented left-hander struck 46 winners to defeat second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 7-6(3) in three hours and 16 minutes. It is Humbert’s second Top 10 win, following his straight-sets victory against World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev at the Hamburg European Open in September.
“I’m super happy, super proud of myself,” said Humbert. “I was mentally very strong to win this match against Tsitsipas, one of the best players in the world.”
Humbert appeared to be on the cusp of victory in the second-set tie-break, as he played with aggression to rush his opponent into multiple errors. But Tsitsipas served well and attacked with his backhand to save three consecutive match points from 3/6 down and force a decider. World No. 34 Humbert returned with depth and struck forehand winners up the line to extend his winning streak to seven matches.
“It was very, very hard at the end of the second set because I was a little bit stressed and tight to finish the match,” said Humbert. “I tried to play one by one [and] gave what I can.
“I was very relaxed [in the third set]. I tried to serve well. It’s very nice to win this kind of match like this.”
Humbert is making his first appearance since his second ATP Tour title run at last month’s European Open in Antwerp. The Frenchman, who also won the ASB Classic in January, owns a 23-11 record in 2020.
This is the second straight match that Humbert has won in a final-set tie-break. The 6’2” left-hander earned a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(1) win against Casper Ruud in the first round.
Tsitsipas will now prepare to make his second straight appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals. The Greek claimed the trophy on his tournament debut last year with back-to-back wins against Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem. The elite eight-man event will be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.
“He was just creating a lot of opportunities from his forehand side and doing a lot of damage from there,” said Tsitsipas. “His serve was very consistent. Despite having opportunities where he would serve second serves [and] I could come in [and] be more aggressive, it didn’t seem as easy as I had it planned in my head.”
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After a slow start, Humbert attacked with his forehand to recover the early break he had conceded. The Frenchman grew in confidence as the set progressed and attacked Tsitsipas’ forehand to extract multiple errors in the first-set tie-break.
Humbert continued to find success on his forehand in the second set, but failed to convert three match points in the tie-break as Tsitsipas levelled the match. But Humbert recovered quickly, as he ripped a forehand winner down the line to break serve in the first game of the decider. Despite dropping serve at 3-2, Humbert played with aggression on his return and landed a forehand winner up the line to book a third-round meeting against Marin Cilic.