De Minaur, Paul enjoy big wins in Paris

Alex de Minaur, for so long a 'nearly-man' of world tennis, has earned a major career breakthrough by defeating former world No.1 Daniil Medvedev in an epic affair at the Paris Masters.

The Sydneysider, who's built an excellent career while always seemingly coming up just short against the true elite, earned his first-ever victory over a top-five ranked player at the 19th attempt with his thrilling 6-4 2-6 7-5 victory over the Russian.

De Minaur had lost all his previous four encounters with the world No.3 including two matches in which he'd won the first set - and it looked as if history would repeat itself on Wednesday.

But the 23-year-old Australian, ever the battler, regrouped, went on the offensive after what had been a remarkable cat-and-mouse affair and won an absorbing contest in two hours and 46 minutes.

The Russian ended up smashing his racquet into the court amid a chorus of jeers from his Parisian audience who'd already enjoyed baiting him during the contest - but he was quick to congratulate his never-say-die conqueror at the net.

"It's a good one to get, for sure," de Minaur said.

"It's the end of the year, everyone's a bit tired, but I'm very proud of my performance. I just played very smart.

"I knew it was going to be a chess match out there, both baiting each other to be aggressive, but you also didn't want to be too aggressive at times.

"It was an absolute battle and I'm very happy I was able to come out on top."

The world No.25 de Minaur will take back his Australia No.1 spot from Nick Kyrgios if he wins his next match, a last-16 contest on Thursday against American Frances Tiafoe, the world No.21 who defeated rising Briton Jack Draper 6-3 7-5.

In the first match of the night session, American Tommy Paul stunned new dad and second seed Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-1.

Nadal, the 22-time grand slam singles champion who has never won the Paris Masters, was playing for the first time in two months and succumbed in two hours and 33 minutes.

"It's probably my best win," Paul said.

"I was obviously pumped for the matchup because it's always interesting when you play one of the Big Three. I've only played him the second time, but the first time I was so nervous. It was weird, this time I wasn't really nervous.

"He got the first set, but I feel like I played pretty well from the jump."

Paul will next face another Spaniard in Pablo Carreno Busta after his 7-6 (7-2) 2-6 6-4 victory over Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

Current world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, also from Spain, sailed into the third round with a 6-4 6-4 win over Yoshihito Nishioka, while Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 7-6 (8-6) winner over Mikael Ymer, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Dan Evans 6-3 6-4, also progressed.

The ninth and 10th seeds were not as fortunate with American Taylor Fritz beaten 7-5 5-7 6-4 by French veteran Gilles Simon and Poland's Hubert Hurkacz defeated by Holger Rune of Denmark 7-5 6-1.