Following Roger Federe’s withdrawal, there was more bad news for the Rolex Paris Masters organisers and French fans with the announcement that Richard Gasquet was also withdrawing but it was eased by the news that his replacement was another Frenchman, Corentin Moutet.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Even though I lost, I can take it as an experience Daniil Medvedev
The year has been tough for the 33-year-old Gasquet, a former world No.7 who currently languishes at 62 on the rankings list and is struggling with his form after missing four months following surgery at the beginning of the year.
But home fans were no doubt uplifted even more when the Lucky Loser took full advantage of his opportunity to defeat Dusan Lajovic 6-4 1-6 6-3 and move into round two where the top seed Novak Djokovic awaits.
The only major names in action on the second day at the Bercy Arena where fourth seeded Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, seeded 6 and home fans were to celebrate even more when Jeremy Chardy, the world 65 pulled off the shock of the day by defeating the former.
Chardy, who had to come through Qualifying to make his appearance in Paris, beat the in-form player, Medvedev, who had reached seven consecutive finals before arriving in Paris after a refreshing break.
The Russian admitted he “hates losing” following his shock defeat in round two having received a bye in the opening round, to slip out of the last Masters of the season, 4-6 6-2 6-4.
The second set ended a streak of 19 consecutive sets won by the 23-year-old from Moscow, while the eventual loss snapped a nine-match winning run.
“I wasn’t thinking at all about the streak while on court,” Medvedev said. “I was just afraid of losing. I hate to lose. But I also know what I can do when I play…
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Even though I lost, I can take it as an experience.”
Chardy, roared on by the partisan crowd in the French capital, saved nine break points in a dramatic deciding set.
“Jeremy played very well, but it’s a shame because I had my chances,” added Medvedev, who is the only current player other than the ‘big four’ of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to have made six consecutive ATP finals.
“The difference was that he was able to take the opportunities that came his way and I wasn’t.”
Medvedev’s run of finals dated back to July, during which he had claimed the Cincinnati and Shanghai Masters titles and lost an epic US Open championship match to Rafael Nadal.
In New York, he was the first Russian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open and he has won four ATP tournaments in 2019 in total.
Medvedev will next head to London for his maiden appearance at the Nitto ATP Tour Finals next month, where he is hoping to emulate last year’s champion and fellow youngster Alexander Zverev.
“Now I have more time to prepare for the Tour Finals. It really is a dream for me to be going there.
“It’s a tournament where anything can happen, Zverev showed that there last year. It’s going to be a good experience.”
It is the first time that Chardy has reached the third round at Bercy, having already come through two matches of qualifying and a first-round tie with Sam Querrey.
“To win against a guy like him (Medvedev) is a great feeling,” said the 32-year-old. “At the end there everything was shaking, but I had nothing to lose.”
Chardy will next play a last-16 clash against either 15th seed John Isner or Chile’s Cristian Garin.
Meanwhile the man Medvedev now wants to emulate at the O2, eased into the third round with a comfortable 6-1 6-3 victory over Fernando Verdasco.
The German, who has to reach the final to ensure qualification for London and fefend his Tour Final title, was hardly tested in the 56-minute encounter
Verdasco won their previous encounter at Roland Garros two years ago but stood no chance on Tuesday, winnig just five points on the return and wasting both break points in the opening game as Zverev grabbed the initiative with four breaks to pocket the win, sealing the victory with a drop shot winner.
H next opponent will be either Denis Shapovalov or Fabio Fognini.
Grigor Dimitrov made a slow start against Ugo Humbert before scoring a 4-6 6-1 6-2 win in an hour and 37 minutes, dominating his opponent in sets two and three to reach the second round.
In othrt action Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur booked his place in the second round with 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 the Serbian 6-1 6-4 and will next play Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Elsewhere defending champion Karen Khachanov, seeded 8, was dethroned by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(5) 3-6 7-5 in what was proving a bad day for Russian players.
Khachanov was edged out in a first set tie-break but battled back to win the first three games of the second but the 29-year-old Struff broke serve first in the deciding frame to lead 3-1 only to be hauled back for 3-3.
The world No.8, who beat Novak Djokovic for the title last year, served for a sudden death tie-break at 6-5 but made a forehand error to give the German a match point which he duly converted.
Earlier in the day Taylor Fritz beat his American compatriot Frances Tiafoe 7-6(6) 3-6 6-4.