Paris [France], November 3 (ANI): Rafael Nadal was defeated by Tommy Paul on Wednesday at the Rolex Paris Masters, giving him his biggest career victory.
The Spaniard's title run and Carlos Alcaraz's exit in the third round would have allowed Rafael Nadal to surpass his compatriot at the top of the rankings, but the American's 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-1 triumph prevented that.
Instead, the American denied the World No. 2 a potential return to the top of the ATP Rankings.
"It's probably my best win. I was obviously pumped for the matchup because it's always interesting when you play one of the Big Three. I've only played him the second time, but the first time I was so nervous. It was weird, this time I wasn't really nervous. I was pretty relaxed going onto the court and the day before. I think that played a role. I came out playing pretty well. He got the first set, but I feel like I played pretty well from the jump," Paul said as quoted by ATP.
After a sluggish start to the Paris evening session, Paul was down a set and a break before breaking Nadal at love to even the match at 2-2. From that point on, the American took control and used his aggressive baseline game to generate three more break chances before winning the set in the tie-break.
Paul took an early lead in the decider thanks to a wayward service game from Nadal, and the American pushed home his advantage after surviving a thrilling game to hold for 3-1. After climbing out of a 0/40 hole on the return, Nadal came within millimetres of tying the set, but a potential winner landed just wide and Nadal's challenge was unsuccessful. The critical hold was made possible by a successful Paul challenge at deuce that erased a Nadal winner on the same sideline.
In the following game, Paul increased his lead by scoring a winner and showcasing his quickness to chase down a drop shot and break for the fourth time. The game was over after two hours, and 32 minutes, following a fifth break.
In his first ATP Tour match since the US Open and his first as a father, Nadal displayed glimpses of brilliance but was unable to maintain it, especially down the stretch when he appeared out of sorts. When he hunted down a lob in set two, he made a highlight-reel play by choosing a spinning forehand over a tweener and hooking it past a dumbfounded Paul for a passing-shot winner.
After the loss, Nadal may focus on the Nitto ATP Finals, which will happen from November 13-20. (ANI)