Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic won their respective matches at the Paris Masters to progress to the next round on Wednesday. Nadal made a strong start to their campaign, beating Adrian Mannarino in straight sets, 7-5 6-4 to enter third round.
This is Nadal’s first competitive match since Laver Cup last month.
However, it wasn’t a straightforward outing for Novak Djokovic who had to battle illness to overcome a scare to local favourite Corentin Moutet. The world no. 1 Djokovic had to save two set points in the first set before overcoming his 97th ranked opponent 7-6, 6-4.
“I don’t feel health-wise 100 percent in the last couple of days, but it is what it is,” said Djokovic, who has a sore throat. “It affects your energy, your vitality on the court. Obviously it’s not ideal, but in these kind of circumstances you just have to accept it and do everything that you can to recover.”
Djokovic will next face Kyle Edmund in the third round on Thursday.
Nadal, who is challenging Djokovic’s world no. 1 spot, will face Stan Wawrinka. “(It’s) not easy to come back after a while without being on the tour,” Nadal said. “Tomorrow is another day, another tough match against Stan. Every day on this tournament is so difficult.”
Nadal, who has never won the tournament, will become the world No. 1 should he clinch the title.
Fifth seed Dominic Thiem secured a last-16 spot after a hard-fought 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-4 win over Milos Raonic.
Thiem will face Grigor Dimitrov who in turn beat 12th seed David Goffin.