Paris, Nov 5 (efe-epa).- Top-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal booked a spot in the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) victory Thursday over Australia’s Jordan Thompson, while in-form German Alexander Zverev and Russia’s Daniil Medvedev also advanced to the tournament’s final eight with three-set wins.
Nadal was completely dominant in the first set of his behind-closed-doors, round-of-16 match at the AccorArena against an overly passive Thompson, who fruitlessly tried to scramble around the court and defend his opponent’s barrage of heavy-topspin forehands and backhands.
The Spaniard broke the Australian’s serve in the fourth game and once again in the sixth game en route to clinching the opening set in just over a half hour.
The 61st-ranked Thompson served much better in the second set and surprisingly managed to avoid suffering any more service breaks against one of the world’s best returners.
He even earned a set point in the 11th game when Nadal double-faulted at 5-6 30-30, although the world No. 2 escaped that jam and then won the tiebreaker convincingly.
“I think I played a good first set. A lot of good shots, good winners, serving well. And then in the second, (I) was not able to find a way to (get) the break,” Nadal was quoted as saying on the ATP Tour’s website. “He started to serve very well, I think, and I missed a couple of returns that I could do better, I should do better.”
On Friday, Nadal will seek a berth in the semifinals against 15th-ranked countryman Pablo Carreño Busta, whose strong results since the end of the coronavirus-triggered hiatus have included runs to the US Open semifinals and the French Open quarterfinals.
Nadal won easily when those two players squared off in September at the Italian Open, although Carreño Busta was adjusting to a abrupt change from hard court to clay and a different time zone after traveling from New York.
In other round-of-16 action on Thursday, the seventh-ranked Zverev narrowly defeated France’s Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (13-11), 6-7 (7-9), 6-4 to run his current winning streak to 10.
The German will next take on the winner of Thursday night’s final match pitting red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev, the world No. 8, against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka.
Argentine world No. 9 Diego Schwartzman, a semifinalist in last month’s French Open, continued his strong run of form by routing Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday and now is one win away from qualifying for the elite, season-ending ATP Finals for the first time in his career.
He will next take on the fifth-ranked Medvedev, who dropped the first set before rallying for a convincing 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win over Australia’s Alex de Minaur.
One other quarterfinal match on Friday will pit big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 winner over American qualifier Marcos Giron, against in-form Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
The fast-rising, 34th-ranked Humbert upset Greek world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round and followed up that win with a 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 victory over Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Thursday.
The Paris Masters is one of nine ATP Tour Masters 1000 events, which are among the biggest tournaments on the men’s tennis calendar. EFE-EPA