Thursday at the Rolex Paris Masters brings us yet another exciting order of play, featuring Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin del Potro and Lucas Pouille.
It was never really in any doubt, but as soon as Rafael Nadal hit his first rally on Wednesday, it was clear that he had come to Paris on top form and highly motivated.
The Majorcan has now guaranteed the year-end No.1 spot for the fourth time in his career, and will be expected to furthermore extend his lead on Thursday with a win over Pablo Cuevas.
The Uruguayan, currently ranked No.36 in the world, has been enjoying his time at the Rolex Paris Masters after finally ending a run of 10 straight defeats stretching back to Roland-Garros, giving him the type of confidence he will need if he is to beat Nadal, who has got the better of him on three occasions in the past. Cuevas does have a win to his name against the Spaniard though, on the Rio clay in 2016.
“I can put all the No.1 talk behind me now and just concentrate on my tennis, and playing better and better with each passing day,” Nadal said.
“Pablo is always a difficult opponent. I’ll need to play well against him and I hope that I’ll be in a position to do just that.
If Nadal does go on to win the match, he will be one step nearer to capturing one of the few ATP Masters 1000 titles that still eludes him.
On the other hand, early exits of Alexander Zverev and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have opened up the Rolex Paris Masters draw for Juan Martin del Potro, and also given him quite a boost in terms of the complicated calculations that are in all tennis fans’ heads at this time of year with the end-of-season Masters on the horizon.
The Argentinean has been surfing the crest of a wave since the US Open, taking the title in Stockholm and reaching the final in Vienna. Robin Haase now stands in his way of yet more points in the quest for a ticket to London, and while the Dutchman will be brimming with confidence after knocking off Sasha Zverev, the head-to-head between the two currently stands at 3-0 in favour of the Tower of Tandil.