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Thiem, Dimitrov out of Paris Tennis • Nadal Headlines Draw along with Tsitsipas and Medvedev

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their men’s final match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 11 October 2020.

By Ricky Dimon

Rafael Nadal has never won the Rolex Paris Masters. As the only member of the Big 3 playing in 2020, this may be the year to do it.

With Novak Djokovic resting up for the Nitto ATP Finals following his Vienna loss to Lorenzo Sonego, Nadal is the No. 1 seed this coming week in Paris. Roger Federer is out for the season due to knee injuries, so the Spaniard’s challengers include Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, and Diego Schwartzman.

Nadal’s draw appears to be a friendly once, as the other top-eight seed in his quarter is a struggling David Goffin. The Belgian recently had COVID-19 and did not look good upon his return in Antwerp. An opening test against Filip Krajinovic, however, may not be a walk in the park for the world No. 2.

Seeking his first-ever title at this Masters 1000 event, Nadal is on a collision course for the semifinals with a red-hot Andrey Rublev. The Russian has captured recent titles in Hamburg and St. Petersburg to go along with quarterfinal performances at the U.S. Open and French Open. He currently finds himself in the Vienna championship match against Sonego on Sunday. Rublev awaits either Hubert Hurkacz or a qualifier in his Paris opener has to be favored in a section of the bracket that also includes Zverev.

Stefanos Tsitsipras of Greece in action during his first round match against Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany at the Erste Bank Open ATP tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria, 28 October 2020.

At the bottom of the draw, Tsitsipas is the second seed thanks to the absences of Djokovic, Federer, and Dominic Thiem. The fifth-ranked Greek does not have an easy road through Paris, as he could open against Antwerp champion Ugo Humbert before possibly running into nemesis Felix Auger-Aliassime

The Medvedev-Schwartzman quarter could go in any number of directions, as well. Their section is also home to Sonego, Karen Khachanov, Kevin Anderson, and Richard Gasquet.

Thiem is out after losing to Rublev in the Vienna quarterfinals, during which he was plagued by a foot injury. The third-ranked Austrian hopes to heal in time for London, where he finished runner-up to Tsitsipas in 2019.

“As many of you already have seen, unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the Paris Bercy Masters this year, due to an injury on my right foot,” Thiem posted on social media. “My team and I decided that it is best to rest this week to be fully recovered for the ATP Nitto Finals.”

Grigor Dimitrov, also a quarterfinalist in Vienna, withdrew as well.

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