Nadal halts Carreno Busta and sends Schwartzman into ATP Finals

By Tom Webber 7 November 2020 57
Nadal halts Carreno Busta and sends Schwartzman into ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal maintained his perfect record against Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the Paris Masters semi-finals and send Diego Schwartzman to the ATP Finals.

World number two Nadal is bidding to win the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time and fought from a set down to triumph 4-6 7-5 6-1 and improve his record against his fellow Spaniard to 7-0.

With Schwartzman having lost his quarter-final against Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-1 earlier on Friday, Carreno Busta needed to win back-to-back titles in Paris and Sofia to stop the Argentinian taking the last remaining qualifying spot for the season-ending tournament.

He appeared to have a significant chance of keeping his hopes alive when he engineered three break points at the start of the second set, but 20-time grand slam champion Nadal held firm and forced his way into a final-four meeting with Alexander Zverev.

Nadal came under early pressure on his serve and Carreno Busta took his second chance to break, his impressive groundstrokes proving difficult for his opponent to cope with.

Back-to-back brilliant backhands put him on the brink of going a set and a break up in the first game of the second, but Nadal dug in to hold and began to step through the gears.

Carreno Busta showed impressive resilience to keep the contest on serve in games two and eight, before a wicked forehand down the line forced the match to a decider.

The ninth seed was broken to love in game four of the decider and won just two more points as Nadal surged to victory.

Zverev awaits Nadal in the semi-finals after beating Stan Wawrinka 6-3 7-6 (7-1) later on Friday.

After exchanging breaks early on in the opening set, Zverev pulled away by winning the final three games.

Wawrinka broke his opponent in the fifth game of the second set but failed to serve to go 6-4 up in a pivotal game.

US Open finalist Zverev forced a tie-break and took it comfortably to progress.

In the other semi-final Medvedev will take on Milos Raonic after the Russian took just 63 minutes to dispatch of Schwartzman.

Things were not as easy for Raonic, who staved off two match points and sent down 25 aces as he overcame Ugo Humbert 6-3 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

The Canadian saved all three of the break points he faced in the third set – and five out of six overall – and closed out the victory with a final ace.

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