Rafael Nadal in Paris-Bercy -
Far from being as comfortable in eastern Paris as he is on the clay courts of Roland-Garros, where he triumphed for the thirteenth time less than a month ago, Nadal is him at the meeting point for the semi-finals at the Masters 1000 de Paris-Bercy.
But as for his entry on the scene against Feliciano Lopez (64th) on Wednesday, the Spaniard needed three sets to overthrow another of his compatriots, Pablo Carreño Busta (15th), finally beaten 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
"Getting out of it after being led 0-40 in the first game of the second set was very important," observes "Rafa", then seriously jostled by Carreño.
Here is Nadal in the last square for the fifth time in the Parisian room.
There has so far only played a final, in 2007, lost against David Nalbandian.
Will he overcome the Indian sign there?
Bercy is one of the three Masters 1000 which still resists him, with Miami (hard outside) and Shanghai (hard indoor).
Above all, on a surface that arrives at the end of the season and puts more strain on his sore knees, the Mallorcan has won only one title throughout his prestigious career.
And that dates: it was fifteen years ago, in Madrid.
Zverev (then Medvedev?) On his way
A year ago, Nadal had to forfeit before his scheduled semi-final against Denis Shapovalov.
Alexander Zverev (7th) awaits him there, with a series of eleven consecutive victories in progress after his two titles in quick succession won in Cologne (Germany) in October, and winner in the evening of Swiss Stan Wawrinka (20th) 6-3 , 7-6 (7/1).
Raonic will face him the Russian Daniil Medvedev (5th), striker of Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-1.
Severely beaten, Schwartzman has something to console himself with the last qualifying ticket for the end-of-year Masters in London (November 15-22, behind closed doors), which Carreño's defeat assures him.
A first for the 28-year-old Argentinian, who rewards his best season, marked in particular by a recent semi-final at Roland Garros.
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Masters 1000 Paris-Bercy