The 2020 Paris Masters tournament is nearing the finish line, with Thursday's matches determining the final eight men who will be competing for a championship.
Rafael Nadal, the No. 1 seed, got back on track with an impressive win over Jordan Thompson after some early struggles against Feliciano Lopez in the second round.
Four of the top five seeds are still in the running. No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is the only one not playing after his second-round loss to Ugo Humbert.
2020 Paris Masters Results - Thursday, Nov. 5
No. 1 Rafael Nadal def. Jordan Thompson 6-1, 7-6(3)
No. 3 Daniil Medvedev def. No. 16 Alex De Minaur 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
No. 4 Alexander Zverev def. Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (13-11), 6-7 (7-9), 6-4
No. 12 Stan Wawrinka def. No. 5 Andrey Rublev 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
No. 6 Diego Schwartzman def. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-1
No. 9 Pablo Carreno Busta def. Norbert Gombos 7-5, 6-2
No. 10 Milos Raonic def. Marcos Giron 7-6(1), 6-2
Ugo Humbert def. Marin Cilic 6-3, (4)6-7, 6-3
2020 Paris Masters Schedule - Friday, Nov. 6
No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 9 Pablo Carreno Busta
No. 3 Daniil Medvedev vs. No. 6 Diego Schwartzman
No. 4 Alexander Zverev vs. Andrey Rublev/Stan Wawrinka winner
No. 10 Milos Raonic vs. Ugo Humbert
Nadal stormed out of the gate against Thompson, winning the first set in seven games. Things were much closer in the second set with Thompson able to force a tiebreak, but an unforced error gave Nadal match point.
Both players looked sloppy at times in the match. Nadal had as many aces as double-faults (three), but he was able to overcome it thanks to an excellent return game. He was able to break Thompson's serve down 6-5 in the second to force the tiebreak.
Nadal was especially effective around the T with 16 service points won at that spot on the court. The win sets him up for a showdown with ninth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta.
"It'll be a tough one, he has been playing very well," Nadal told reporters about Busta. "But we're in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1,000 so you can't expect any other thing."
Busta has been rolling through the tournament thus far. The 29-year-old has yet to drop a set in three matches, including a 7-5, 6-2 win over Norbert Gombos on Thursday. The quarterfinal will be his first match against a ranked opponent.
Nadal is a perfect 6-0 head-to-head against Busta in their head-to-head matches, including a 6-1, 6-1 victory in September at the Italian Open.
In the match of the day, Alexander Zverev held off Adrian Mannarino in a three-set marathon that lasted three hours and featured two tiebreakers in the first two sets. Zverev wound up holding on for the 7-6 (13-11), 6-7 (7-9), 6-4 win and a spot in the quarterfinals.
The statistical comparison between Zverev and Mannarino was nearly as close as each set. The German star had an advantage in second-serve points won (35-19) and took advantage of seven double-faults by Mannarino.
Zverev's serve also served him well throughout the victory. He finished with 19 aces, including two straight in the final game to seal the victory. A win this weekend will give the 23-year-old his third consecutive tournament victory.
Daniil Medvedev had a fight on his hands against Alex De Minaur after dropping the first set. The 24-year-old was playing his first full match of the tournament. Kevin Anderson had to retire late in the first set against Medvedev when it was tied 6-6.
Taking on De Minaur, Medvedev was excellent on serve with 13 aces and showed pinpoint accuracy with his backhand.
Since making a run to the semifinals of the U.S. Open, Medvedev lost four of his next seven matches leading into the Paris Masters. He's had a disappointing season after winning a career-high four singles titles in 2019.
Standing in Medvedev's path during the quarterfinals will be Diego Schwartzman, who has been cruising through two matches this week. He breezed past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, dropping just two games total in a 6-1, 6-1 win.
Schwartzman has been flirting with his first victory of the season in recent tournaments. The 28-year-old made it to the French Open semifinal before losing to Nadal and the bett1HULKS Championships final last week until Zverev defeated him.