Week in Preview: Nadal returns to Paris where Rublev, Tsitsipas await

Week in Preview: Nadal returns to Paris where Rublev, Tsitsipas await

Here’s a look at the draw at the ATP’s next-to-last big tournament of the season, the Rolex Paris Masters.

Rafael Nadal is the king of Roland Garros, but he has never won Paris’s other big event, in Bercy. Is this the year he adds it to his title list? We break down the draw at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The host country is in lockdown. There won’t be any fans in the seats. And two of this year’s three Grand Slam winners, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, won’t be there either. But Bercy is still an ATP Masters 1000 event, and it still has Nadal. Those are two things that tennis fans can celebrate, or at least enjoy, in 2020, right?

Here’s a look at the draw at the ATP’s next-to-last big tournament of the season, the Rolex Paris Masters.

First Quarter

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It has been feast or famine for Nadal in Paris over the course of his career. He has won the title 13 times at Roland Garros, but he has reached the final just once at the indoor event across town, and that was all the way back in 2007. With no Djokovic or Thiem in sight, this is probably the best chance Rafa will have to add Bercy to his list of Masters wins.

Nadal’s draw won’t hurt his chances. He’ll start against either Filip Krajinovic or Feliciano Lopez. Of the two, Krajinovic would likely be the more dangerous opponent; he reached the Bercy final in 2017 and has posted some strong results in 2020. The same goes for Nadal’s potential third-round opponent, Borna Coric.

First-round match to watch: Pablo Carreño Busta vs. new French hopeful Hugo Gaston

Semifinalist: Nadal

Second Quarter

Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev, the top two seeds in this section, both come to Paris with significant late-season momentum. Rublev just won his fifth title of the year in Vienna, and Zverev is coming off back-to-back tournament wins in Cologne. One of these two would seem to be destined to reach the semis this week.

Who might have something to say about that? Stan Wawrinka, Dan Evans and John Millman, who is coming off his first career title, in Nur-Sultan, are in this section.

First-round match to watch: Wawrinka vs. Evans. They played two weeks ago in St. Petersburg, and Wawrinka won 7-5 in the third set.

Semifinalist: Rublev

Third Quarter

While Rublev has been surging, his fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev has been struggling. Since reaching the semifinals at the US Open, the No. 3 seed is just 3-4. Worse, he could face the player who just beat him in Vienna, Kevin Anderson, in his opener in Paris.

If there’s a player who seems ready to take advantage of a Medvedev slip-up, it would be Diego Schwartzman. In his last three events—Rome, Roland Garros and Cologne—the Argentine has reached the final, the semis and the final, respectively. He’ll start against either Taylor Fritz of Richard Gasquet. Schwartzman is in position to qualify for the ATP’s year-end championships in London for the first time.

Also here: Vienna finalist Lorenzo Sonego. He’ll start against Alexander Bublik.

Semifinalist: Schwartzman

Fourth Quarter

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini headline the bottom section of the draw. Of the two, Tsitsipas has had the better 2020, and the better fall so far. He’ll start against either Ugo Humbert or Casper Ruud, while Berrettini could face Milos Raonic in the third round.

First-round match to watch: Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Marin Cilic

Semifinalist: Tsitsipas

Semifinals: Nadal d. Rublev; Tsitsipas d. Schwartzman

Final: Nadal d. Tsitsipas