World No. 2 Rafael Nadal defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to progress to semi-finals of the ongoing Paris Masters to inch closer to tournament victory as he needs to beat Novak Djokovic for the year-end world No. 1 ranking.
On Friday, the Spaniard defeated Tsonga 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 in the quarter-finals to set up a semifinal clash against Canadian rising star Denis Shapovalov, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Gael Monfils. It will be Nadal’s fourth appearance in the semis at an event he has never won.
Meanwhile, Djokovic continued with his prolific run as he needed just 58 minutes to demolish Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2 in quarterfinal action.
The Serbian was battling illness in his victories over French lucky loser Corentin Moutet and the UK’s Kyle Edmund in the first two rounds of this ATP Masters 1000 tournament. However, there was no sign of those health problems against the rising Greek star.
“I played one of the best matches of the season. I prepared myself very well for this match,” Djokovic was quoted as saying afterward on the ATP Tour’s website. “I lost to Stefanos about three weeks ago in Shanghai. and obviously I went through the videos (to better) understand what I did well, what I didn’t do so well, what I can do better.”
The 32-year-old will fall to the second spot in the rankings on Monday behind Nadal, but the Serbian still has a chance to finish the year No. 1 for a record-tying sixth time. He will next take on Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the summit clash.