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Russia’s Davydenko and title holder Tsonga advance to the third round

The majority of the favourites in the Paris Masters Open have survived the second round, such as Russia's Nikolay Davydenko (pictured) who defeated German Benjamin Becker and French title holder Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.


REUTERS - Russia's Nikolay Davydenko and Spain's Fernando Verdasco moved closer to spots at the World Tour Finals in London with contrasting second-round wins at the Paris Masters on Tuesday.

World number seven Davydenko, who would make sure of entering the Nov. 22-29 season finale with a semi-final appearance here, brushed aside German Benjamin Becker 6-2 6-1.

Verdasco, the world number eight, who will a book a trip to London if he wins the title but could qualify earlier depending on how other contenders fare, needed over two hours to move past Italian Andreas Seppi 6-7 6-4 6-4.

The Spaniard's win meant Czech Radek Stepanek and Croatia's Marin Cilic dropped out of the race, leaving just five players fighting for the two remaining tickets to the London event featuring the world's top eight players, with Davydenko and Verdasco first in line.

The other three are Swede Robin Soderling, Chilean Fernando Gonzalez and France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the defending champion in Paris.

World number nine Tsonga, who retired from his first-round match against Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in Valencia last week because of a wrist injury, looked as fit as ever, outclassing Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-1 7-5 in a second-round match.

Eighth seed Tonga, who had a first-round bye like all seeded players, will next face compatriot Gilles Simon or Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic.

Davydenko, 28, who won in Paris in 2006 and is seeded sixth this year, will now meet Soderling or Croatia's Ivo Karlovic.

"Every year it's the same, whether I'm in (the World Tour Finals) or not depends on how I play in Paris, and I'm always in," Davydenko said.

Seventh seed Verdasco, 25, next faces Cilic or Poland's Lukasz Kubot.

"Making the World Tour finals is a big motivation," the Spaniard said. "I know if I win all my matches, I'll qualify, whatever the others do, so that's my goal."

All the world's top 10 players except the injured Andy Roddick are in the French capital for the last tournament of the regular season.

World number one Roger Federer and number two Rafael Nadal will get started on Wednesday, against Frenchman Julien Benneteau and Spaniard Nicolas Almagro respectively.

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