London hopeful Berdych through in Paris, Raonic firing on all cylinders

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Tomas Berdych remains in contention for a place in the ATP World Tour Finals after beating Joao Sousa in the second round of the Paris Masters and Milos Raonic blew Pablo Carreno Busta away on Tuesday.

Seventh seed Berdych must reach the semi-finals in the French capital this week to have any chance of sealing one of the two places still up for grabs in the season-ending tournament in London this month.

The towering Czech, who has ground to make up on Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic in order to play in the Finals for the seventh year in a row, made hard work of seeing off the unseeded Sousa 6-3 3-6 7-5.

Raonic, seeded four, produced a devastating service display to get the better of Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 and Gilles Muller set up a second-round match against world number one Novak Djokovic

 

LONDON TALK 'A NICE BONUS' FOR BERDYCH

Berdych, the 2005 Paris Masters champion missed the US Open after he was hospitalised with appendicitis and the world number 11 did not expect to be in the running for a London spot after that setback.

He said: "My approach to [London] is very simple: I have to do well here. I have to play good tennis because if you don't play your best, you don't really deserve to be there.

"Luckily, I'm healthy and can play. Who would have said that I'd be answering questions about London when I was in the hospital in Cincinnati? This is a nice bonus."

Roberto Bautista Agut or Gilles Simon will be Berdych's third round opponent.

 

CARRENO BUSTA ON THE END OF RAONIC BARRAGE

Milos Raonic has built a reputation as one of the most fearsome servers in the game and the Wimbledon runner-up lived up to his billing against Carreno Busta.

The fourth seed from Canada blasted down 17 aces and won 98 per cent of points on his first-serve, not allowing the Spaniard to earn single break point.

Raonic kept the rallies short, preserving his energy as he attempt to build momentum ahead of an assault on the ATP World Tour Finals.

 

DJOKOVIC TO START AGAINST MULLER  

Djokovic is in danger of losing his spot at the top of the rankings to Andy Murray this week but the 12-time grand-slam champion will be expected to consign Muller to defeat.

World number 34 Muller reached round two with a 6-3 6-3 win over Nicolas Almagro and will now face the challenge of taking on the top seed, who has beaten him in straight sets on all three occasions they have met.

David Goffin, also aiming to qualify for London, will face Nicolas Mahut after the Frenchman beat Martin Klizan, while another ATP World Tour Finals contender Cilic is up against fellow Croatian Ivo Karlovic - winner against Dusan Lajovic.

Richard Gasquet pulled off a remarkable fightback in a second-set tie-break to send Steve Johnson packing, saving seven set points and coming from 6-2 down to win the breaker 13-11 after taking the opener 6-4