PARIS, France, Nov 5 – Rafael Nadal battled into the Paris Masters quarter-finals on Thursday with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) win over Australian Jordan Thompson at Bercy Arena.
World number 61 Thompson gave Nadal plenty to think about, but missed a set point to force a decider in his first meeting with the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
Top seed Nadal, who claimed his 1,000th career victory by coming from behind to beat Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday, has never won the Paris title.
Playing in his first tournament since taking a record-extending 13th French Open crown across the French capital at Roland Garros last month, Nadal will face fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta for a semi-final spot.
Carreno Busta, who has reached the US Open semi-finals and French Open quarters this year, needs to win the title this week to have any chance of snatching the last ATP Tour Finals spot from Diego Schwartzman.
“It’ll be a tough one, he has been playing very well,” said Nadal. “But we’re in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1,000 so you can’t expect any other thing.”
Nadal raced through the opener against Thompson in just 31 minutes, breaking twice and sealing it on his fourth set point after a brief stutter from 40-0 up in the seventh game.
Thompson put up more of a fight in the second set, but missed a set point when 6-5 ahead as Hawkeye showed a Nadal backhand had landed on the baseline.
The world number two held his serve and upped his game in the tie-break to secure victory.
Nadal has still never failed to reach the quarter-finals at Bercy in his eight appearances despite only making the final once, when he lost to David Nalbandian in 2007.
He is bidding to equal Novak Djokovic’s record of 36 Masters titles this week.