Paris| Nadal remains on track
Rafa Nadal having secured the much-coveted end-of-season world No1. spot by beating South Korean Hyeon Chung 7-5 6-3 on Wednesday, reached the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters yesterday despite a slight hiccup in the second set against Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.
The Spaniard was made to work hard before reaching the last eight with a 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 victory.
You don’t expect to win easy in big tournaments like these onesRafa Nadal
Nadal has never won the Bercy title and overall triumph would lift him past Novak Djokovic in the Masters victories listings which both players currently share at 30.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion will take on world number 77 Filip Krajinovic in the quarters, after the Serb beat Nicolas Mahut 6-2 3-6 6-1.
“You don’t expect to win easy in big tournaments like these ones,” said Nadal, who would seem to be having trouble with his right knee which he had strapped had his right knee strapped after the second set.
“It’s normal that at the end of the season after all the things that happened… All the matches I played with high intensity, it’s normal that there are body issues a little bit.
“So it’s nothing strange. Something that’s completely normal and accepted,” the French Open champion, who has won only two of his 75 ATP titles indoors, explained.
Meanwhile the race for the eighth and last O2 place intensified as Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro maintained his challenge after beating Robin Haase 7-5 6-4.
The former US Open champion will take the eighth and final qualification spot for London from Pablo Carreno Busta if he reaches the semi-finals at Bercy and to reach that stage he will have to get past the ninth seeded John Isner who beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(10) 5-7 7- (3).
Isner, who reached the Bercy finals 12 months, also has a chance of making London but he has to become the overall champion to achieve that goal.
“It’s going to be a good battle next round trying to qualify for London,” said Del Potro. “But anyways, I think I have two ways to take, one is London, one is my home and vacation.”
Belgian David Goffin sealed the seventh Tour Finals spot despite slumping to a 6-3 6-3 defeat by journeyman Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
Lucas Pouille’s slim chances of reaching London ended, though, as the home player lost 7-6(6) 6-3 to the big-serving Jack Sock who had eliminated Kyle Edmund in the previous round 4-6 7-6(3) 7-6(5) having recovered from 1-5 down in the decider.
Sock faces veteran Fernando Verdasco next, the Spaniard having successfully seen off the Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-4 6-4 to reach his first Masters quarter-final since 2012.
Also through is the Croat Marin Cilic, the third seed who took out Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(4) 6-2.