Monfils completes quarterfinal line-up at Paris Masters

Published by Tennismash / AP

Gael Monfils celebrates during his three-set defeat of Radu Albot at the Paris Masters, a win sending him through to the quarterfinals. (Getty Images)
After winning through to the Paris Masters quarterfinals, Gael Monfils stands just one win away from qualifying for the ATP Finals field in London.

Gael Monfils kept alive his bid for last-minute qualification at the ATP Finals with a fighting three-set win over Moldovan Radu Albot in Paris.

Monfils thrilled his home fans at the Masters event with a 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory, sending him through to the quarterfinals.

Should he beat Canada’s Denis Shapovalov to reach the semifinals, he would seal his place in the elite eight-player field in London.

Shapovalov earlier upset No.6 seed Alexander Zverev for his first win in three career meetings with the German.

In other results, in form Australian Alex de Minaur was knocked out after a 6-3 6-4 loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas, while Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a maiden Paris Masters title with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Stan Wawrinka.

It took 21-year-old Tsitsipas – who had 11 aces in the contest – just 69 minutes to defeat de Minaur in the French capital.

Tsitsipas will now face four-time champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals after the Serb notched his 50th ATP win of the season — a 7-6(7) 6-1 win against Kyle Edmund.

Tsitsipas’ victory was his 100th tour-level win in 160 matches, reaching the century of wins faster than seven of the other members of the top 10, excluding Nadal (137) and Djokovic (143).

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Djokovic, after needing seven set points to clinch the first set against Edmund, reeled off six successive games in the second, finishing it off by breaking his British opponent to love with a two-handed backhand winner into the left corner.

He turned quickly to give his box a look of steely determination and former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic — who joined his coaching team at this year’s Wimbledon — stood to applaud him.

“It was because my coach told me I don’t have a great return. So finishing off with a return winner, I kind of gave him a look. No I’m joking,” said Djokovic, who is widely considered among the game’s greatest ever returners.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion served well, too, winning 89 per cent of first serve points won and conceding no break points.

“I have not played my best yesterday, so of course I was hoping I can do as well as I did in second set. The look was about that.”

Nadal will take over as world No.1 from Djokovic on Monday, and converted two of his three break chances to claim his 19th win in 22 encounters against the Wawrinka.

The 19-time major winner will next face local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat German Jan-Lennard Sruff 2-6 6-4 7-6(6) to make the most of his Paris wildcard.

The loss to Nadal ended Wawrinka’s hopes of qualifying for the season-ending ATP Finals, leaving only Frenchman Monfils and Italian Matteo Berrettini with a chance to grab the last of eight tickets for the November 10-17 showdown.

Berrettini lost his opening-round match in Paris to Tsonga.

Grigor Dimitrov also advanced by beating Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-2, and next plays Cristian Garin, an unseeded Chilean who saved three match points in a 6-7(4) 6-4 7-6(6) win against Jeremy Chardy.

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