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Rafael Nadal • The Curious Case Of The Top Half Of Paris Masters Tennis

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during their fourth round match on day seven of the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 21 January 2018. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during their fourth round match on day seven of the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 21 January 2018.  EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

What the heck is up with the top half of the Rolex Paris Masters draw? The tournament has some history with surprise finalists, and there very well could be another one in 2018.

 

It starts with Rafael Nadal, who is the No. 1 seed–and a particularly vulnerable No. 1 seed, at that. The top-ranked Spaniard has not taken the court since retiring in the U.S. Open semifinals against Juan Martin Del Potro with yet another knee injury. Nadal may not be 100 percent, but he is eager to get back on the court for some indoor match practice prior to the Nitto ATP Finals (which he has never won) and because he is in a near-deadlocked race for the year-end No. 1 ranking with Novak Djokovic. Paris Bercy has also arguably been the worst event of Nadal’s otherwise illustrious career. The 32-year-old has never lifted the winner’s trophy and he has not appeared in the final since his debut trip in 2007. Frequently injured at this point of seasons, Nadal has played Paris only six times.

 

Nadal’s nearest seed in the bracket is none other than Jack Sock. The 26-year-old won the Paris Masters in 2017 from completely out of nowhere to earn a stunning berth in the Nitto ATP Finals. Another Paris title would come as an even bigger shock this time around, as Sock has been nothing short of a disaster in singles this season. His record stands at a laughable 7-20 and he is currently…wait for it…No. 151 in the race to London. Because Paris and London points leave the board at the same time (when Paris ends), Sock will lose 1,400 points on Nov. 4. If he falls right away to either Richard Gasquet or Denis Shapovalov, he will see a whopping 79.1 percent of his points evaporate in one fell swoop.

 

So unless Nadal is in perfect health and suddenly begins playing well on the indoor hard courts of Paris Bercy, the quarterfinal spot in that section of the draw is utterly up for grabs.

 

The rest of the seeds in the top half are Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, John Isner, Borna Coric, Kyle Edmund, and Diego Schwartzman.

 

Zverev is struggling (lost to Marius Copil in the Basel semifinals on Saturday), and indoor hard courts are a terrible surface for both Thiem and Schwartzman. Isner has been unable to get back on track since skipping the Asian swing following the birth of his first child. Coric retired from his Vienna quarterfinal contest against Kevin Anderson due to blisters. Edmund is playing well, but he is also playing a lot and fatigue could be setting in sooner rather than later.

 

With Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Anderson, Kei Nishikori, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and plenty of other standouts in the bottom half, this Paris draw is as lopsided as it gets. Fasten for your seatbelts; the result could be some crazy stuff.

 

Singles: click here

Doubles: click here

Qualifying Singles: click here

Order Of Play: click here

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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