After becoming the fourth player in the Open Era to reach 1,000 tour-level wins on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal bounced back to business at the Rolex Paris Masters.
Rafa Nadal continued his pursuit of a maiden Paris-Bercy title with a 6-1, 7-6(3) third-round victory against Aussie Jordan Thompson. The Spaniard has reached the quarter-finals in all eight of his appearances at this tournament.
The World No. 2 saved a set point on his serve at 5-6 in the second set, winning a grueling 26-shot rally in which his final forehand, which elicited a backhand error from Thompson, clipped the baseline. Nadal surged through the ensuing tie-break to emerge victorious after one hour and 33 minutes.
If the top seed go on to triumph at the Rolex Paris Masters, he will tie Novak Djokovic’s record of 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles. The lefty star could triumph at this level for the 15th time in the past 16 years. This was Nadal’s first meeting against Thompson, but he wasted no time imposing his will on the match. The World No. 2 broke the Aussie’s serve early when Thompson missed a backhand volley, and Nadal later swooped into the net to carve a backhand drop volley, securing a second break and a commanding lead.
The World No. 61’s inability to blow Nadal away proved critical. On Thompson’s set point, he earned control of the rally, and was able to go after an inside-out forehand. But Nadal never panicked and slowly worked his way into control of the point, with Thompson eventually missing a defensive backhand into the net. Nadal then took charge of the action in the tie-break, completing his win when Thompson missed a forehand into the net.
The top seed will next play countryman Pablo Carreno Busta, against whom he has never lost in six previous Head2Head meetings.