Rafael Nadal's wait for a first ATP Finals win rolls on for at least another year after he slumped out in the semis to Daniil Medvedev in London.

The world number two has 86 singles titles, including 20 majors, to his name, yet the season-ending showdown is not counted among his honours, and it was Medvedev who progressed to a final with last year's runner-up Dominic Thiem thanks to a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 success.

Medvedev was in relentless form, though Nadal pulled out his full repertoire of shots to take the lead in the opener before clawing himself back from 4-1 down in the second set tie-break.

Ultimately, though, Medvedev had too much and, after clinching the second set, maintained the momentum to break twice in the decider and claim his first win over Nadal.

After an aggressive start, Medvedev had three chances to break in game three, yet the Russian failed to take the opportunity to nose himself ahead.

Nadal, however, made no such mistake five games later as he constructed an excellent rally from the baseline before drawing world number four Medvedev into an overhit forehand.

The set was wrapped up in Nadal's favour at the first time of asking, but Medvedev responded in force and a double-fault from Nadal handed him the next break.

Medvedev had a second break in his sights at 4-1 up, yet a missed cross-court backhand gave Nadal a reprieve, and the 34-year-old hammered home a venomous serve.

An emphatic Medvedev ace saved a break point, but a pair of volleys put Nadal on the front foot, with the southpaw then lashing a cross-court forehand beyond his opponent.

More clinical shots dragged Nadal level and what looked set to be a crucial break followed – the 13-time French Open champion lifting a delicate lob down the line after Medvedev had closed in on the net.

Yet Nadal went from serving to win the match to serving to stay in the set within the space of nine points.

Nadal held his nerve to force a tie-break, in which a slice of good fortune with a lob saw Medvedev take a 6-3 lead, with the set sealed in his favour on the second set point.

The intensity continued into the decider, with blow after blow exchanged until Medvedev – on his third chance – broke with a powerful return, forcing Nadal to serve to stay in the match.

But Medvedev had the answer for everything his opponent threw at him and, after a perfect forehand teed up match point, victory was secured when a tame Nadal shot hit the net.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Medvedev - 42/22
Nadal - 30/30

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Medvedev - 13/3
Nadal - 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Medvedev - 4/11
Nadal - 3/4

Daniil Medvedev maintained the last remaining 100 per cent record at the ATP Finals to head into his last-four meeting with Rafael Nadal on a high.

The world number four had not dropped a set against Alexander Zverev or Novak Djokovic and showed the already-eliminated Diego Schwartzman no mercy in a 6-3 6-3 success on Friday.

Medvedev wasted little time in taking command of proceedings, even if Schwartzman battled to an initial hold.

The Russian led at the next opportunity, picking out the right corner of the court with his forehand and then racing through his own service games to preserve his advantage.

A sharp increase in pressure then allowed Medvedev to clinch the opener on Schwartzman's serve, despite seeing an outrageous stretching return to tee up set point go to waste.

Medvedev converted next time, following up a blistering cross-court effort by blasting straight through his opponent at the net.

The breakthrough in the second again came in Schwartzman's second service game, with the third of three break points a sweetly struck backhand.

That was enough to seal victory, Medvedev breezing through this dead rubber - served out to love - before the real business continues against Nadal in Saturday's semi-final.


WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Medvedev - 30/19
Schwartzman - 13/8

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Medvedev - 4/1
Schwartzman - 0/0

BREAK POINTS WON
Medvedev - 3/9
Schwartzman - 0/2

Rafael Nadal is relishing his first last-four chance at the ATP Finals since 2015, though his only regret is fans cannot be in attendance at the O2 Arena.

Nadal booked his semi-final spot with a 6-4 4-6 6-2 triumph over defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in London on Thursday.

The 20-time grand slam champion cruised in the first set but allowed world number six Tsitsipas to hit back in the second, though successive breaks at the start of the decider all but settled the contest.

Nadal has never won the ATP Finals, with this the sixth time the Spanish star has made it to the semis in what is the last occasion the season-ending tournament will be played in London before its move to Turin next year.

While delighted to have sealed his last-four place – with a clash against world number one Novak Djokovic potentially next up – Nadal is disappointed he can not share the moment with fans, with crowds at sporting events in the United Kingdom still banned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think I played quite well, for such a long time. That game, 5-4 in the second set, affected me a little bit," Nadal said in his on-court interview.

"I think I was quite comfortable until that moment, after that everything changed a bit, I started to serve a little bit worse but at the end a very positive match for me and for me to be in the semi-finals is another important thing.

"Last year I was a bit unlucky not to be in the semi-finals, the year before I had to pull out.

"It's always difficult to play here, against the best players in the world every single day, at the end of the season. This year is a little bit different.

"Sad for the situation, normally after this good match the atmosphere would be fantastic as always. It's a different story.

"It's sad to say goodbye to this amazing place, but it's what we are facing around the world so I'm just excited to be in the semi-finals and hope to be ready to try my best."

Nadal – an ATP Finals runner-up in 2010 and 2013 – also conceded that, with England currently in a state of nation-wide lockdown, he has found it harder to fill his time while not on the court.

"We can't complain at all, we are very lucky to be practicing our sport in very difficult conditions so we can't complain," the 34-year-old added.

"At the same time, it's a bit more boring than usual, with no chance to go out for dinner, so days in the middle are a bit longer, but I'm happy to have a good team around me, I'm trying to stay organised, stay impassioned."

Nadal joins US Open champion Dominic Thiem, last year's beaten finalist, in the semi-finals.

Rafael Nadal survived a fightback from Stefanos Tsitsipas to secure his spot in the last four of the ATP Finals at the expense of the defending champion. 

Searching for his first triumph in the season-ending competition, Nadal was made to work for his sixth career win over the world number six, eventually triumphing 6-4 4-6 6-2 at London's O2 Arena. 

With Dominic Thiem – who Tsitsipas defeated in last year's final – having already qualified, Thursday's clash was a battle to see who else would progress from the group. 

Nadal, who has now won 71 successive matches in which he has gone a set ahead, cruised in the opener - dropping just five points on his serve - and despite a comeback in the second, Tsitsipas' count of 21 unforced errors effectively ended his hopes.

Nadal failed to take the first two break points on offer in the contest, though a pair of unforced Tsitsipas errors nosed the Spaniard ahead. 

The set was wrapped up six minutes later thanks to successive aces, and the pressure was back on Tsitsipas at the start of set two, though he escaped with a brilliant cross-court backhand. 

Having only lost five points on his serve in the opener, Nadal cruised in the next game, though his opponent continued to hold and, at 5-4, finally created an opportunity.

A superb backhand pass and an excellent dink from the net put him 30-0 up and while Nadal hit back, a risky drop shot earned Tsitsipas two set points. 

However, Tsitsipas undid his hard work at the start of the decider, handing Nadal a break back with three unforced errors. 

Nadal seemed to be cruising in the second game only for Tsitsipas to hit back, the world number two going long with a lob before then finding the net. 

Tsitsipas once again failed to make the most of his opportunity, though, and a fourth successive break followed as Nadal reclaimed the advantage – a lead he would not relinquish. 

Despite dropping the next two points, he clinched the first hold of the decider 19 minutes into the set before more unforced Tsitsipas errors allowed the French Open champion to seal victory at the second time of asking.


WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal - 29/12
Tsitsipas - 24/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal - 8/1
Tsitsipas - 8/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal - 4/8
Tsitsipas - 2/3

Stefanos Tsitsipas stayed in the hunt for more ATP Finals glory by fending off Andrey Rublev in a gripping match at London's O2 Arena, with Rafael Nadal keeping a close eye.

Defending champion Tsitsipas landed a 6-1 4-6 7-6 (8-6) victory, and that was good news for Dominic Thiem whose place in the semi-finals was guaranteed by the outcome on Tuesday.

Rublev can no longer reach the final four, and it will come down to a clash on Thursday evening between Tsitsipas and Nadal to determine who joins Thiem in advancing from the London 2020 group.

Nadal was at courtside to check out his next opponent, and Tsitsipas looked in deep trouble when he faced match point in the deciding tie-break - only for Rublev to double-fault.

Both men came into this match on the back of defeats on Sunday, Tsitsipas edged out in a decider by Thiem while Rublev was beaten in straight sets by Nadal, who then lost to Thiem in a stunning contest on Tuesday afternoon.

This season has seen Rublev win five ATP titles, more than anyone else on tour, but his breakthrough at grand slam and Masters 1000 level has yet to come.

The same can be said for Tsitsipas; however, the Greek triumphed at this tournament last season to take a significant career step.

After Tsitsipas swept through the opening set with little resistance, Rublev stepped it up for the second and nine consecutive games went with serve.

It was a surprise when Rublev broke to level the match, a string of unforeseen errors from Tsitsipas giving up three set points. Rublev required just one, yelling "Come on!" as his opponent sent a forehand long.

Rublev then saved five break points in winning a dramatic third game of the decider, before the tie-break threw up plenty of drama. Tsitsipas had the match in his hands with two serves at 5-4 in the tie-break, but he lost both points and Rublev then blundered when serving at match point.

When Tsitsipas carved out his own match point, a forehand into the net from Rublev settled the outcome.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Tsitsipas: 24/16
Rublev:  26/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Tsitsipas: 10/0
Rublev:  6/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Tsitsipas: 2/9
Rublev: 1/1

An all-time classic at the ATP Finals saw Dominic Thiem beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets to close in on a place in the semi-finals. 

The Austrian needed three tie-breaks to take a four-set victory over Nadal at the Australian Open in January and Tuesday's clash in London was similarly played on a knife-edge. 

In the end, Thiem made it three wins in his previous four meetings with the French Open champion, prevailing 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4) after nearly two and a half hours of the highest quality tennis at the O2 Arena. 

Nadal enjoyed a one-sided victory over Andrey Rublev in his first match in the group, but this was more in keeping with the three-set battle Thiem had with Stefanos Tsitsipas. 

The level of serving – only 15 points were dropped behind a first serve during the opening 12 games – and the supremacy of the groundstrokes meant there were no break points prior to the first tie-break, Thiem clinching it with an inside-out forehand winner after roaring back from 2-5 down. 

There was no let-up in the standard and intensity of play early in the second either, as summed up by consecutive points in which first Nadal and then Thiem produced astonishing running forehand winners.

Thiem at last got the first break of the match to go 4-3 ahead but the US Open champion promptly surrendered that lead as Nadal refused to give in. 

An uncharacteristically loose game from the Spaniard gifted Thiem three match points, but the 20-time grand slam champion, still waiting for his first ATP Finals trophy, dug deep to keep the contest alive. 

In the second tie-break, a spectacular backhand down the line helped Thiem edge ahead 4-3 and, although Nadal saved two further match points, his sixth defeat of the year was sealed when he pushed a backhand into the tramlines. 

"I think it was a great match from the first to the last point," Thiem, who hit 37 winners to 22 unforced errors, said to Amazon Prime Sport. "I was pretty lucky to get the first set, 2-5 down in the tie-break, and against Rafa, obviously it's nice to win the first set but still I had to stay super focused. 

"I had the feeling the whole match was very high-level but I'm very happy with the way I served. Most of the time I get the first serve in, I'm into the offence. When I was in difficult situations, the serve helped me out a lot." 

Thiem will be the first player to qualify for the semi-finals if Tsitsipas defeats Rublev in the late session.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal: 25/16
Thiem: 37/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal: 2/1
Thiem: 6/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal: 1/2
Thiem: 1/5

Rafael Nadal was in impressive form on Sunday as he beat Andrey Rublev in straight sets in his first match of the ATP Finals.

The Spaniard, who drew level with Roger Federer on 20 grand slam singles titles when he won last month's French Open, needed just under 78 minutes to defeat Rublev 6-3 6-4 in London and claim a first opening win at the event since 2015.

Making his first appearance at the Finals, Rublev struggled on his serve and hit 22 unforced errors to Nadal's 11.

Nadal, who qualified for a record 16th consecutive year-end championships, broke in game six of the first set before seeing it out with a love service game.

Rublev has been the most successful player on the Tour in 2020 in terms of titles, winning five, but he cut a defeated figure as soon as Nadal went a break up at the start of the second set.

The world number eight eventually settled into his serve but Nadal was impervious to a comeback, seeing out the victory with his second match point when Rublev returned long.

"I think it has been a positive start for me," he said. "Always, the first match is very tricky.

"Here, every match is difficult, you play against the best of the best so [I am] very happy. [I am] sorry for Rublo but I wish him the very best for the rest of the tournament. He had an amazing season even under these very difficult conditions. We had the season and he was able to win a lot of titles so it's an important victory for me."

Nadal faces Dominic Thiem next, the US Open champion having started his tournament with a three-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal: 14/11
Rublev: 18/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal: 2/0
Rublev: 9/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal: 2/5
Rublev: 0/0

Rafael Nadal makes no excuse for his struggles on indoor courts but is hopeful he can end his wait to win the ATP Finals as the tournament is held in London for the final time. 

Nadal moved level with Roger Federer on 20 grand slam titles by winning his 13th French Open crown with a straight-sets defeat of Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros last month. 

However, while he has thrived on every outdoor surface throughout his storied career, he has won only two indoor titles. Glory has eluded him at the season-ending showpiece, which shifts to Turin in 2021. 

The Spaniard was runner-up in 2010 and 2013 and heads into this year's event with confidence after reaching the semi-finals of the Paris Masters. 

"We can find excuses or reasons but, at the end of the day, the numbers are the numbers," said Nadal of his indoor struggles. 

"I think I played less indoors than on the other surfaces, without a doubt. The indoor surfaces have not been the ideal surfaces for my tennis game since the beginning of my career. 

"I think I am able to play a little better in the past couple of years indoors than I did at the beginning of my tennis career, without a doubt, but [these are] the numbers. 

"I can't say something different. I hope to change that this week."

Nadal faces Andrey Rublev in his opening encounter at the O2 Arena, the Russian having won successive indoor titles in St Petersburg and Vienna last month. 

"I don't know how close I am to the perfect preparation," Nadal added. "I tried to fight hard in every single match in Bercy. 

"That put me in a position that I already played four matches on this surface and hopefully that can help me here, but there remains two days for me to practice here. 

"I hope to be ready to accept the challenge to play against such difficult opponents like Rublev in the first [match]."

Novak Djokovic avoided defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and third seed Dominic Thiem, who were both drawn alongside Rafael Nadal for the ATP Finals.

World number one Djokovic, who will be aiming to win the trophy for a record-equalling sixth time, will take on Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman in Group Tokyo 1970.

The Serbian heads to London on the back of just his third defeat of the season – one of which was his default at the US Open – in the quarter-finals of the Vienna Open to Lorenzo Sonego.

Zverev won the title in 2018, while Medvedev is returning after his ATP Finals debut last year and Schwartzman has reached the event for the first time.

Nadal has qualified for the year-ending competition for a record 16th straight year but faces a tricky task in Group London 2020 alongside Thiem, Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

Tsitsipas lost to Nadal in the group stage but beat Thiem in the final to win the competition last year, though the Austrian will hope to go one better after making his major breakthrough by going all the way at the US Open.

Like Schwartzman, Rublev is competing at the tournament for the first time.

The ATP Finals, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is scheduled to begin on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal succumbed to the in-form Alexander Zverev, who booked his place in the Paris Masters final with an impressive  6-4 7-5 last-four triumph on Saturday.

Zverev became the first German in 25 years to reach the final of the tournament in the French capital to make it 21 wins from 23 matches since the start of the US Open.

The world number seven, who reached his first slam final at Flushing Meadows, has won 12 straight contests and the manner of his latest victory against the legendary Nadal will be particularly pleasing.

Nadal was aiming to match Novak Djokovic's record of 36 Masters 1000 titles this week but struggled to make a dent on his opponent, who won his opening eight service games.

Not for nothing is the Spaniard a 20-time grand slam winner, though, and a shift in return position initially left Zverev flummoxed as the second set was tied up at 4-4.

But Zverev – who served 13 aces throughout the match – kept his composure and broke in the final game of the second set to defeat Nadal for just the second time and reach a seventh final at this level.

Awaiting in a Sunday showdown is Daniil Medvedev, a man Zverev has beaten five times in six career ATP meetings against the Russian.

Rafael Nadal maintained his perfect record against Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the Paris Masters semi-finals and send Diego Schwartzman to the ATP Finals.

World number two Nadal is bidding to win the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time and fought from a set down to triumph 4-6 7-5 6-1 and improve his record against his fellow Spaniard to 7-0.

With Schwartzman having lost his quarter-final against Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-1 earlier on Friday, Carreno Busta needed to win back-to-back titles in Paris and Sofia to stop the Argentinian taking the last remaining qualifying spot for the season-ending tournament.

He appeared to have a significant chance of keeping his hopes alive when he engineered three break points at the start of the second set, but 20-time grand slam champion Nadal held firm and forced his way into a final-four meeting with Alexander Zverev or Stan Wawrinka.

Nadal came under early pressure on his serve and Carreno Busta took his second chance to break, his impressive groundstrokes proving difficult for his opponent to cope with.

Back-to-back brilliant backhands put him on the brink of going a set and a break up in the first game of the second, but Nadal dug in to hold and began to step through the gears.

Carreno Busta showed impressive resilience to keep the contest on serve in games two and eight, before a wicked forehand down the line forced the match to a decider.

The ninth seed was broken to love in game four of the decider and won just two more points as Nadal surged to victory.

In the other semi-final Medvedev will take on Milos Raonic after the Russian took just 63 minutes to dispatch of Schwartzman.

Things were not as easy for Raonic, who staved off two match points and sent down 25 aces as he overcame Ugo Humbert 6-3 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

The Canadian saved all three of the break points he faced in the third set – and five out of six overall – and closed out the victory with a final ace.

Rafael Nadal insists he will never stop trying to improve his game in a stark warning to Paris Masters quarter-final opponent Pablo Carreno Busta. 

A day on from beating Feliciano Lopez for his 1,000th ATP Tour-level victory, Nadal saw off Jordan Thompson in straight sets on Thursday.

The Spaniard lost just 12 points on his serve in his first meeting with world number 61 Thompson, who hauled down his racket after failing to win a set point in the second, which Nadal subsequently won on a tie-break.

Yet despite another impressive showing in Bercy, Nadal believes he still has work to do if he is to overcome compatriot Busta, who beat Norbert Gombos 7-5 6-2.

"I want to improve everything, always," the world number two said after his 6-1 7-6 (7-3) triumph. "But that's the work of every day, no? Try to fix the things that I think I can do it better, and hold the things that I am doing well, no?

"So I think I am not doing a lot of things bad. I just didn't play in indoors for a year almost, and is part of the process of course. I need to keep going. I think these kind of matches helps. Yesterday's match, today's, tomorrow is another opportunity.

"These matches are an important test for me to keep improving, so I really believe and hope that it's going to help me to improve. I think I'm playing well. I just think I need to win more matches on this surface.

"I need to be ready to play my best against an opponent that I know is playing well and with confidence. I hope to be ready to play my game and really read well, because that's what I'm going to need."

WAWRINKA AND ZVEREV BATTLE THROUGH

Nadal is into the Paris Masters quarters for an eighth time but the 34-year-old has only reached the final on one previous occasion, losing to David Nalbandian in 2007.

Should he overcome his compatriot Busta on Friday, one of Alexander Zverev or Stan Wawrinka await in the semi-finals.

Fourth-seeded Zverev needed three hours to overcome unseeded Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (13-11) 6-7 6-4, saving set points in each of the first two sets.

Zverev wasted a set point of his own in a tie-breaker as the German was taken all the way to a decider, which he won by breaking Mannarino in the ninth game.

Chasing a third title of the year, Zverev will now face Wawrinka in the last eight after the Swiss battled from behind to beat Andrey Rublev 1-6 6-4 6-3.

Rublev broke his opponent three times to take the first set inside 32 minutes, but Wawrinka held in the second to level up a match that went on past midnight local time.

World number eight Rublev had won 11 matches in a row but he struggled to cope with Wawrinka in the third set, losing serve in the first and ninth games to bring his participation to an end.

Rafael Nadal will face Pablo Carreno Busta in an all-Spanish Paris Masters quarter-final after beating Jordan Thompson in straight sets.

Nadal needed three sets to secure the 1,000th ATP Tour-level victory of his career at the expense of Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday.

The top seed followed that up with a 6-1 7-6 (7-3) defeat of world number 61 Thompson in Bercy, reaching the quarter-finals of the tournament for an eighth time out of eight.

Nadal lost just 12 points behind his serve as Thompson failed to break the 20-time grand slam champion in the first meeting between the two on Thursday.

Ninth seed Carreno Busta stands in the way of Nadal and a place in the last four, as one of the all-time greats attempts to win the tournament for the first time.

Nadal was up against it in a battle with veteran Lopez before sealing a landmark win, but there was no slow start from the legendary left-hander in his third-round contest.

He held to love in the first game and in the fifth, then took a 5-1 lead with a deft volley at the net after drilling a rasping return and an inside-out forehand to Thompson's left.

The world number two wrapped up the set in only 32 minutes by winning a fifth consecutive game, but it was a different story in the second as Australian Thompson warmed to the task.

Thompson threw down his racket and was shaking his head after failing to win a set point before Nadal took it to a tie-break, which he won with a combination of thunderous winners and errors from his opponent.

Rafael Nadal joked that the only negative of bringing up his 1,000th career win was that it means he is now "very old".

Nadal landed the landmark singles win of his career as he came from a set down to defeat Feliciano Lopez 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 at the Paris Masters.

Wednesday's clash was the first time Nadal has played since he claimed his 13th French Open title last month.

The 34-year-old now sits fourth on the list of players with the most wins in the Open Era, behind Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl.

Though proud of his long career, Nadal did point out one negative to reaching the milestone.

"Of course [I am proud] but there is one negative thing and that is that you are very old to get to 1000, you are very old," Nadal told reporters.

"Because to win 1000 matches you have to have a long career, but I am super happy. To arrive at that number means I did a lot of things well over a long time.

"Thanks to everybody – the ATP, to the French Federation, to everybody, my uncle, it's not the same without the crowd.

"I am proud of a lot of things honestly, but I faced some challenges in my career, ball injuries and I always have the passion to keep going and the dedication and humility to accept the challenges when things don't go the way you expect.

"Of course it's a big achievement to be playing at the age of 34 and at the same time still being competitive is still something very important for me and makes me feel proud and happy and proud about all the things that, not just me, the whole team have achieved."

Nadal, who has never won the Paris Masters, was imperious at Roland Garros, but looked far less assured at the Bercy Arena.

Lopez made a strong start, with a break of serve in the opening game resulting in him taking the first set, but Nadal hit back by edging a tie-break and then breaking his compatriot – who he has a 14-10 winning record against – at the start of the decider.

"It was very tough match, I started in the worst way possible with the break against him," Nadal added.

"It's difficult as you are under pressure the whole match. I am very happy to finally find a way to win because you don't want to be in a tie-break for the whole match against a big server like Feliciano and a very good player from the baseline, especially on this surface."

Rafael Nadal landed the 1,000th singles win of his career as he survived an early scare at the Paris Masters.

Nadal's fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez went close to a major upset as the veteran pushed him all the way, but Nadal came through 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

After sweeping to French Open glory last month without dropping a set, Wednesday's match marked Nadal's return to action and it took him two hours and 30 minutes to get the job done.

He sits fourth on the list of players with the most wins in the Open Era, behind Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl.

There were also victories for Alexander Zverev, Diego Schwartzman, Milos Raonic and Alex de Minaur. while Daniil Medvedev went through after opponent Kevin Anderson retired due to injury during a first-set tie-break.

Away from clay, Nadal looks vulnerable in Paris

Nadal was imperious at Roland Garros, roaring through the draw on the way to his 13th French Open title.

Across town, at the Bercy Arena, it has been a different story throughout Nadal's career.

The indoor hard-court event is one he has never won and has often skipped, with this just his eighth appearances in the main draw, and this was almost a brief visit as Lopez made a storming start.

Lopez managed what nobody could at Roland Garros by swiping that first set after a break of serve in the opening game of the match, but 20-time grand slam winner Nadal stepped up his game to reach the last-16 stage and chalk up a landmark win.

The 39-year-old Lopez saved five break points in the second set to earn a tie-break, only for Nadal to edge it and then break serve for the first time at the outset of the decider.

With his hard-fought success, Nadal, 34, extended his head-to-head winning record to 10-4 against Lopez, with their rivalry having begun on an indoor carpet court in Basel back in 2003.

Likely challengers come through

German fourth seed Zverev swept to a 6-2 6-2 win against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, while Schwartzman swatted away Richard Gasquet, landing a 7-5 6-3 win over the Frenchman.

There was more disappointment for French hopes as Pierre-Hugues Herbert lost 6-4 6-4 to Canadian Raonic, and Russian Medvedev was embroiled in a battle with Anderson when the South African pulled out of the contest.

Sonego's early exit

Lorenzo Sonego arrived in Paris off the back of a successful week in Vienna, where he knocked out Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals and went on to finish runner-up to Andrey Rublev.

This week will linger less in the memory for the Italian, who went down 6-3 7-5 to De Minaur.

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