Daniil Medvedev booed off the court, Novak Djokovic eases through and scheduling chaos at the Paris Masters

After Carlos Alcaraz’s surprise exit on Tuesday, world No. 3 Daniil Medvedev also faced a shock second round defeat at the Paris Masters, losing in three sets to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday.

In Medvedev’s first match of the tournament after receiving a first round bye, the 2021 US Open champion saved six match points before falling in a tense outing in front of a volatile crowd that appeared to get under the Russian’s skin on multiple occasions.

After Dimitrov took the first set 6-3 and with the score locked at 5-5 in the second, Medvedev threw his racket before stepping up to serve. This prompted boos from the Parisian audience, which the 27-year-old clearly did not appreciate.

Dimitrov plays a forehand during his win against Medvedev. - Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images
Dimitrov plays a forehand during his win against Medvedev. - Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Medvedev is no stranger to playing the villain on court and walked back to his bench, refusing to play until the booing stopped.

An argument with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein – and the crowd – ensued, before he was eventually given a code violation for delaying the match and was forced into serving.

“When I got the code, I was like: ‘Do I really want to get disqualified and finish the match on this note?’ So I just went on to play,” Medvedev told the media after the game.

Despite the disruption, Medvedev managed to level things up and won the second set tie-break to send the match to a deciding final set.

The pair battled to another tie-break as world No. 17 Dimitrov squandered six opportunities to put Medvedev away. The 32-year-old eventually sealed the victory at the seventh time of asking, winning 6-3 6-7 7-6 and moving on to the round-of-32 where he will take on Alexander Bublik.

Medvedev was again jeered as he left the court and appeared to raise his middle finger towards the crowd on his way out, something which he later denied.

“I just checked my nails, like this,” he said to reporters post-match. “No, really, it’s nothing more than that. Why would I do that to this beautiful crowd in Paris-Bercy?”

Meanwhile, 24-time grand slam singles champion Novak Djokovic breezed into the third round in straight sets, beating Tomás Martín Etcheverry 6-3 6-2.

Djokovic, who hold the record for the most Masters 1000 tournament wins, celebrates after the match. - Stephanie Lecocq/Reuters
Djokovic, who hold the record for the most Masters 1000 tournament wins, celebrates after the match. - Stephanie Lecocq/Reuters

Djokovic had not played since representing Serbia in the Davis Cup in September, but showed no signs of rust against the Argentine and appears increasingly likely to end the year as world No. 1.

With Medvedev and Alcaraz both suffering earlier-than-planned exits, Djokovic’s path to a 40th Masters title may have just gotten slightly easier.

Scheduling chaos

Meanwhile, Paris Masters tournament organizers have come under criticism following Jannik Sinner’s withdrawal from the event on Thursday, saying he hadn’t been allowed enough time to prepare due to the way his matches had been scheduled.

According to Eurosport, Sinner’s match against American Mackenzie McDonald was scheduled to take place during the night session on Wednesday, but the players did not take to the court until after midnight.

Sinner emerged victorious in three sets with the match ending at 2:37 a.m. local time on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Italian was then scheduled to face Alex de Minaur during Thursday’s day session at 5 p.m., only 14 hours after leaving the court.

“I’m sad to announce that I’m withdrawing from today’s match here in Bercy,” Sinner posted on his Instagram story and X, formerly Twitter, profile. “My match finished at nearly 3am this morning, meaning I didn’t get to bed until a few hours later.

“I had less than 12 hours to rest and prepare for my next match. I have to do what I believe is best for my health and body.”

The world No. 4 also added that he would now focus on preparing for his upcoming ATP Finals and Davis Cup matches.

After Thursday’s schedule was released, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) and the ATP Tour have faced criticism from fans and players alike.

“Bravo @atptour, way to help one of the best players in the world recover and be as ready as possible when he finished his previous match at 2:37 am this morning,” former world No. 2 Casper Ruud posted on X. “14.5 hours to recover…what a joke.”

Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka echoed Ruud’s concerns in a reply to his tweet.

“It’s crazy, tournament doesn’t care and ATP just follow what the tournament will want! Always the same story…” Wawrinka wrote.

The Professional Tennis Players Association, which was co-founded by Novak Djokovic and Vasik Pospisil, posted on X: “It’s more important than ever for players to have a unified voice to address challenges like match scheduling.”

CNN has reached out to the FFT and the ATP Tour for comment.

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