Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, fighting it out for the year-end world number one spot, edged closer to a possible Paris Masters final clash as both eased into the last four on Friday.
The 33-year-old Nadal, who can secure the end-of-year top ranking ahead of Djokovic by winning his maiden Bercy title, beat French wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.
Nadal is bidding for a record-extending 36th Masters crown and will take on Denis Shapovalov in the last four on Saturday after the Canadian youngster thrashed Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2.
Djokovic had earlier crushed seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2 and will next face Grigor Dimitrov, who saw off unseeded Chilean Cristian Garin 6-2, 7-5. Nadal has now reached 73 Masters semi-finals in total and is two wins away from his 85th ATP title, but only third indoors. Tsonga was rock solid on serve in a first set which did not see a single service game from either player even reach deuce.
But second seed Nadal stepped it up in the tie-break, with two incredible winners on the run helping him take a crucial one-set lead.—AFP