Star attractions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal didn’t hit a ball on Wednesday in Paris. Rafael Nadal had to withdraw due to an ab injury leaving the No. 1 ranking for now to Novak Djokovic.
“It was great to be here in Paris for a couple of days and practise with the guys,” said Nadal who has never won the Paris title. “I enjoyed it [and] I felt in terms of tennis better than one week ago. But in the past few days, I started to feel a little bit [of an] abdominal [injury], especially when I was serving. I checked with the doctor and he said that he recommended to not play, because if I continued the abdominal may break and could become a major thing. And I really don’t want that.”
Malek Jaziri took Nadal’s spot and made the most of it beating Fernando Verdasco 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-3 to advance to a showdown with defending champion Jack Sock who won a match beating Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Two other Frenchmen also lost. Gilles Simon fell to Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-2 and Adrian Mannarino was a loser to Kei Nishikori 7-5, 6-4.
John Isner was a winner and Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov advanced to a Thursday tussle. Dimitrov was a winner over Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(10), 6-4 in his debut with Andre Agassi in the coaching box. Borna Coric was also a late winner over Daniil Medvedev.
Isner and Nishikori must reach the final to have any chance at a London qualification.
Alexander Zverev also won over Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-4.
Federer, meanwhile, was to play Milos Raonic, but the oft-injured Canadian pulled up lame with an elbow injury.
Raonic tweeted, “I’m very sorry to have to withdraw from my match this evening at the @RolexPMasters. “This is not how I wanted to end my season, but I will be healthy soon to get in shape and be ready for the new year. Thank you all for your continued support this year. Hope to see you soon.”
Federer moves ahead to face Fabio Fognini tomorrow. Also on Thursday, Monday’s new No. 1 Novak Djokovic is back in action seeking a 20th straight victory as he meets Damir Dzhumer.
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