Rafael Nadal defeats Stan Wawrinka to reach the Paris Masters
PARIS: Rafael Nadal hit Stan Wawrinka for the 19th time in 22 meetings, winning 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Paris masters quarter finals.
The two players share 22 Grand Slams, but Nadal has 19 of them and once again established absolute dominance over his Swiss opponent. The scorching backhand with a Wawrinka hand was as erratic as it was occasionally superb, but Nadal was almost always in control.
My service worked well and the volley also, Nadal said. I went to the network a couple of times, took out and volley.
The second-place Spaniard had brief problems in the first set, saved a break point in the second game and another in the eighth, and then needed brief medical assistance in the second set because of a stomach problem.
Nothing important, honestly, said Nadal, ruling out any health problems. During the game I was (asking) a little if only the doctor can give me something to feel a little better.
Nadal then faces the 2008 champion, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while pursuing a first Paris title, which would guarantee him fifth place at the end of the year for the fifth time.
Tsonga saved two match points in an exhausting 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory against the highly successful German Jan-Lennard Struff.
Nadal leads Tsonga 9-4 in his career meetings, with Tsonga's first victory in the semifinals of the 2008 Australian Open, which remains the only grand final he has reached. He lost it to Novak Djokovic, who has since added 15 more major titles to join Nadal and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer as the great moderns of the game.
The top-ranked Serb is seeking a record-tying sixth year-end finish with the top ranking, and remains on course to meet Nadal in the final at Bercy Arena. Earlier, the four-time Paris masters champion looked closer to his best level, reaching the last eight with a 7-6 (7), 6-1 win against Kyle Edmund.
After needing seven set points to secure the first set, he managed six consecutive games in the second, ending up breaking his British opponent to love him with a two-handed backhand winner in the left corner.
He turned quickly to give his box a look of firm determination and former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, who joined his team of coaches at this year's Wimbledon, stood up to applaud him.
It was because my coach told me that I don't have a great return. So when I finished with a return winner, I took a look. No, I'm kidding, said Djokovic, who is widely considered among the players. The best returnees.
It also served well, earning 89 percent of the first service points earned and without granting break points. He then peaked with three crispy winners in the last game, including another two-handed setback and a precise right-hand punch.
It's great to finish the game in style and feel what I felt in the second set, Djokovic said. I didn't play the best I could yesterday, so of course I hoped I could do it as well as I did in the second set. The look was about that.
With his voice still hoarse, Djokovic addressed the crowd in his French that was improving rapidly after the game. He told them in measured tones that he still felt a little bad, since he had sometimes worked against the unseeded Corentin Moutet in the second round.
He then faces the seventh seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who had 11 aces in a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Alex de Minaur and has a 2-1 record against Djokovic - even earlier this month in the quarterfinals. Shanghai Masters final.
Grigor Dimitrov advanced by beating Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-2, breaking the service of Austria's fifth seedman four times. The Bulgarian did not face a breaking point and then plays Cristian Garin, a seedless Chilean who saved three match points in a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (6) victory against Jeremy Chardy.
The sixth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany lost 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to Denis Shapovalov in a game full of errors with 30 break points and seven service breaks, five granted by Zverev.
Shapovalov then plays against the quarterfinals of the US Open Gael Monfils.
The 13th-seeded Frenchman was a set and a break down but rallied to hit 50th-ranked Moldovan Radu Albot 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Monfils will seal his place at the end of the ATP season in London if he defeats Shapovalov.