Nadal, Djokovic edge closer to Paris Final Showdown

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, fighting it out for the year-end world No 1 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.

The Spaniard has reached the semis for the first time at the event since 2013, having withdrawn injured before the quarterfinals on his last appearance in 2017.

“I’ve had a lot of injuries in this tournament (historically),” said Nadal. “I’m happy to be back in the semifinals.”

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. Djokovic holds an 8-1 winning head-to-head record against Dimitrov.

The Serb could be usurped by Nadal at the top of the rankings next week, but can ensure the race to be the best player at the end of the year reaches the ATP Tour Finals in London by winning a fifth Paris Masters title.

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