Rafael Nadal continued his march towards a possible first title at the Paris Masters on Friday, revving up after dropping the first set to overwhelm Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 for a semi-final place.

The top seed who has set records across town with 13 Roland Garros titles, remains on track to break his duck at the Bercy arena in an event being played behind closed doors due to the rise in local COVID-19 cases.

The 34-year-old world No. 2 who has never been a major fan of indoor hardcourt, is seeking his second title on the surface after winning Madrid in 2005 before it changed to his more comfortable clay.

The Spanird was playing a quarter-final at this event for the eighth time in as many appearances. 

Nadal dropped the opening set to an opponent he has now defeated in all seven of their matches, but stopped the rot to pull out a three-set win, his second from three played this week.

The top seed needed two and a quarter hours to advance to the semi-finals to win his 25th match of the virus-shortened season. He stands 33-5 at Bercy after achieving a best of the 2007 final.

“He started playing well,, he was winning his serves too comfortably,” Nadal said. “I was not able to return well enough to create problems for him.

“He did a lot of things very well, played very aggressive.

“My serve needed to be better, and I needed to return better. I got better as the match went on. But I still need to improve my return if I want to keep going here.”

Main Photo Rafa Nadal through to semi-finals of Rolex Paris Masters © ATP Tour.com

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