Paris Masters 2020: Rafael Nadal romps to 1000 Tour-level wins; Diego Schwartzman inches closer to ATP Finals debut
The 28-year-old Schwartzman was too strong for France's Gasquet, taking a 7-5, 6-3 victory, and will next face Spanish qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the last 16 at Bercy Arena.
Paris: Rafael Nadal became the fourth man to win 1,000 Tour-level matches on Wednesday by beating Feliciano Lopez at the Paris Masters, while Diego Schwartzman and Alexander Zverev also reached the third round.
The 34-year-old, who won a record-extending 13th French Open title across Paris at Roland Garros last month, followed Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl in reaching the 1,000 mark.
The Spaniard had to fight back against fellow Spanish veteran Lopez, 39, but did enough to win 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
Nadal was given a special presentation to celebrate his achievement after the match in a near-empty Bercy Arena, with the event being played behind closed doors after France entered its second coronavirus lockdown last week.
"It has been a special moment. I know it's a very special number, 1000," said the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
"Even if it's not the same to celebrate something like this without a crowd, I enjoyed it with ATP, with the president of the French Federation, Guy Forget, supervisor and the ball boys.
"I enjoyed it and just can say thanks to all of them to make this moment a little bit more special."
The top seed, bidding for a first Paris Masters title, will face Jordan Thompson in the third round after the Australian beat Croatia's Borna Coric 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Taking the trophy in Paris this week would see Nadal equal Novak Djokovic's record of 36 Masters titles.
Schwartzman closes on London spot
Earlier on Wednesday, Argentinian Schwartzman moved within two wins of sealing a debut appearance at the ATP Tour Finals in London by beating Richard Gasquet.
The 28-year-old Schwartzman was too strong for France's Gasquet, taking a 7-5, 6-3 victory, and will next face Spanish qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the last 16.
Schwartzman will secure the final spot at the season-ending tournament by reaching the semi-finals in Paris, but would qualify even if he fails to do so, as long as neither Pablo Carreno Busta nor Milos Raonic win the title.
"I have it in my hands but I have to say that I'm watching the other matches," said the sixth seed.
"I want to be there so I'm doing my best on court."
The Tour Finals get underway on 15 November.
After the match, Schwartzman wrote a message of support for Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona, who had brain surgery on Wednesday, on a courtside camera.
"I love football, and he's Argentinian, so every place you go, everyone knows Argentina because of Maradona, and that's why I put 'Fuerza Diego'," said Schwartzman.
US Open runner-up Zverev continued his excellent run of form by cruising past Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-2 in under an hour.
The fourth-seeded German, who won back-to-back titles in Cologne last month, will face Adrian Mannarino in round three.
Zverev, who has won three Masters titles in his career, broke twice in each set to extend his winning streak to nine matches.
Anderson retires injured
Third seed Daniil Medvedev reached the last 16 after Kevin Anderson retired injured from their encounter.
The Russian will next play Australia's Alex de Minaur, who beat Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 7-5, for a last-eight place.
South African Anderson quit when 5-2 down in an opening-set tie-break, with the tournament medical service saying the former Wimbledon and US Open runner-up suffered a thigh injury.
The 24-year-old Medvedev is yet to reach an ATP final in 2020 after winning four titles and finishing runner-up five times last year.
Raonic kept his slim Tour Finals hopes alive with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
The Canadian, who lost the 2014 Bercy final to Djokovic, next plays 91st-ranked American Marcos Giron.
In-form Russian Andrey Rublev made short work of his second-round tie against Moldova's Radu Albot, winning 6-2, 6-1.
Rublev is the first player in 2020 to reach 40 wins.
Nadal admitted that it had been hard at times to keep motivated because of the latest injury to dog a career that has brought him 20 Grand Slam crowns
Rafael Nadal said Novak Djokovic was not the only one to blame for the 'mess' that overshadowed the Australian Open.
Regardless of whether or not I agree on some things with Djokovic, without any doubt, justice has spoken," Nadal told Spanish radio station Onda Cero on Monday.