Rafael Nadal goes in search of his sixth consecutive win over Stan Wawrinka when the two Grand Slam champions clash in the Rolex Paris Masters Round of 16 on Thursday night.
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World No. 2 Rafael Nadal brings a dominant 18-3 record over Stan Wawrinka into the pair’s third round showdown at the Rolex Paris Masters on Thursday.
Nadal, who will return to the No. 1 ranking on Monday regardless of what he and Novak Djokovic do in Paris this week, got his quest for a first Rolex Paris Masters title off to a solid start on Wednesday, defeating tricky French wildcard Adrian Mannarino in straight sets. Nadal didn’t face a break point during the match and protected his second serve superbly, winning 14 of 18 points behind his second delivery in the 7-5 6-4 triumph.
“I know how dangerous Adrian is in this court. The court here is fast, the bounce is low, so I think is a perfect court for him,” Nadal said. “So I went on court knowing it [was] going to be very tough one. I needed to play well, and I think I did. My serve worked very well during the whole match. I think I played at the right level.
“Not easy to come back on the Tour after a while without being on the Tour. And playing in this surface… and against a very dangerous opponent, in the first round for me, second for him. So [I’ m] very happy with the victory.”
Nadal, who can guarantee himself the year-end No. 1 ranking by winning the title in Paris, is playing his first competitive tournament since lifting a 19th Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in September, with an elbow injury forcing him out of the final day of Laver Cup action and subsequently causing him to miss the Shanghai Masters.
Despite missing the last month or so, Nadal arrives at the Paris Masters in his best physical condition in years and having won 29 of his last 30 matches, compiling a current 49-6 record for the season that has yielded two more major titles at Roland Garros and U.S. Open, along with two more Masters 1000 crowns in Canada and Rome. Nadal was also a runner-up at the Australian Open to Djokovic and has bounced back strongly after a knee injury disrupted tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. Can the 33-year-old has only played the Paris Masters six times, but he’s reached at least the quarter-finals on every occasion – can he keep that trend going on Thursday night?
Stan Wawrinka (PA Images)
Stan Wawrinka will do his best to prevent it. The Swiss is still in with an outside chance to book an unlikely spot at the ATP Finals, but he would need to win the Paris Masters title and hope other results go his way. Wawrinka is in good form though, winning 11 of his last 13 matches and getting his campaign off to a nice start as he conquered former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in two tiebreaks on Wednesday.
Wawrinka brings a 33-18 record for the season into this clash against Nadal, with his highlights including finishing runner-up in Rotterdam and making quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open, where he scored a retirement win over Djokovic before going down in four sets to the on-fire Daniil Medvedev. Wawrinka is up to No. 16 in the world after making the final of Antwerp two weeks ago, where he led by a set-and-a-break against Andy Murray before succumbing in three, but that first title since knee surgery still eludes him. It’s been a slow grind back to the top for Wawrinka, but the 34-year-old has set himself up nicely for a big 2020 – and who knows, perhaps he isn’t done for good yet in 2019…
Nadal has won 18 of their 21 matches, including the last five in straight sets, but Wawrinka did score his last win over the Spaniard at this very tournament back in 2015. The Swiss certainly has the game and firepower to trouble Nadal on these courts, but the 19-time major champion is playing with such confidence right now, and when he’s feeling like this without any noticeable injuries, he’s almost impossible to stop. These conditions give Wawrinka the best chance of victory, but it’s hard to look past Nadal in his current form.
Nadal vs Wawrinka ATP Paris live streaming, preview and tips – Nadal gunning for 19th win over Wawrinka and quarter-final spot
Rafael Nadal goes in search of his sixth consecutive win over Stan Wawrinka when the two Grand Slam champions clash…
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