The Spanish Rafael Nadal and the Serbian Novak Djokovic maintain their particular duel for the number 1 after having both overcome the first obstacle in the last 1,000 Masters of the year, in Paris.
Nadal, who will temporarily lead the ranking on Monday, will secure that place at the end of the season for the fifth time if he wins the tournament or if he reaches the semifinal and surpasses one round more than the Serbian.
The Spanish defeated Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, 43 in the world, 7-5 and 6-4, a rival more adapted to the fast track that did not make it easy for him.
On his return to the competition after a month and a half of stoppage and in his first match in two years indoors, the conditions where he has had his worst performance in history, Nadal was able to carry out a very committed duel.
Supported by his service, which was almost perfect without conceding any breaking balls, he had enough patience to await the Frenchman’s failure, who ended up yielding a service in each of the two sleeves, always in the game that closed the same.
On his way to the quarterfinals he will face the Swiss Stan Wawrinka, seeded number 16, who defeated Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6 (3) and 7-6 (5).
It will be the second time they meet in this tournament, where Nadal defeated the Helvetian in 2007 en route to his only final on the indoor court in Paris.
In four indoor duels, the Spaniard has only lost once to the Swiss, who in the general count barely adds three victories against Nadal in 21 duels.
Djokovic had more problems to reach the round of 16 against the Frenchman Corentin Moutet, rescued from the previous phase, 97 in the world, but who had a ball to score the first round, before falling 7-6 (2) and 6-4 .
In search of his fifth title in Paris, the Serbian showed that he has to improve his tennis, which helped him defeat the young Frenchman. AFP