Rafael Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters semifinal

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters semifinal

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters semifinal

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal remain on course to face off in the Paris Masters final, a 55th match in their intense rivalry, after winning their quarterfinals in straight sets on Friday.

Top seed Djokovic had to dig deep in the opening set as he reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7) 6-1 win against Britain's Kyle Edmund.

The 16-time Grand Slam victor held serve throughout to strengthen his hopes of ending the season as world No 1.

"It was a tough first set where I had to play at a very high level", Nadal said after beating Tsonga for the 10th time in 14 meetings. "On the return today, for me, it was a little bit hard", said second seed Nadal, who called a medical timeout because of a minor stomach bug.

"I lost to Stefanos about three weeks ago in Shanghai. I lost to Stefanos in Shanghai and obviously I went through the videos, understanding what I did well, what I didn't do so well", Djokovic said.

If Nadal does not recover in time for London, where he has also never won the title, it would be a disappointing end to a strong season which has seen him claim a record-extending 12th French Open title and the US Open crown.

World number 27 Dimitrov, playing in his first Masters semi-final since losing to Nadal in Monte Carlo previous year, appeared to have regained his composure at the start of the second set, but was broken in the fifth game as Djokovic closed in on victory. "He's been having an incredible week, and he's been playing some really good tennis".

"I played one of the best matches of the season". But when the veteran Spaniard broke the unseeded Frenchman at the start of the second he took control in a 7-6 (4), 6-1 win.

The Canadian is 0-3 against Djokovic in his career.

It could have been an even quicker victory, considering Tsitsipas saved three set points at 0-5, 0-40 in the first set and held serve.

He broke Tsitsipas in the third game of the second set, then held and broke to love for 4-1. All three of those losses have come this season - two in Masters 1000 tournaments and the other at the Australian Open.

The Bulgarian became the lowest-ranked player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 2008 at Flushing Meadows, before losing to Daniil Medvedev.

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Paris Masters with an abdominal injury just minutes before the scheduled start of his semi-final against Denis Shapovalov on Saturday, and admitted his participation at the ATP Tour Finals was in doubt.

Home favourite Monfils was one victory away from pipping Italian Matteo Berrettini to a ticket to London, but was blown away by a brilliant Shapovalov performance.

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