Veteran Lopez sets up Nadal clash at Paris Masters

Veteran Lopez sets up Nadal clash at Paris Masters

Tennis fans couldn't believe what they were seeing on Wednesday as Rafael Nadal dropped the first set to Feliciano Lopez at the Paris Masters.

Nadal appeared to be solving the riddle of Lopez in the second set but the Spaniard held firm and saved two break points to hold for 2-all in a tense game.

Now holding the second spot in the ATP rankings, Nadal is dubbed the "King of Clay" for his unrivalled track record on his favorite surface. In addition to preparing indoors for the ATP Finals, the tournament that will bring together the eight best of the season from 15 to 22 November in London, will have the opportunity in Paris to match the 36 Masters 1000 of Djokovic, who was left alone in the lead after winning last August in Cincinnati. "Something very great has been created around Rafa in Paris, obviously he has something that makes him play well all the time".

"Against him, that's hard because you're under pressure for the whole match".

Nadal became just the fourth man in history to reach that 1000-win mark with his comeback win.

"But I always had the passion to keep going and the humility to keep going when things are going in a way you don't expect".

With both players evenly matched, the second set stayed on serve before Nadal edged a tiebreak to send the contest to a decider.

"He has a lot of depth and he is very comfortable on courts like that to be able to defend as he wants", Ferrero said.

Nadal, whose first match win on the ATP Tour came in April 2002, is fourth on the all-time list, with Jimmy Connors leading the way on 1,274 victories, 32 more than second-placed Roger Federer. The Serbian will be the No. 1 seed in Paris, where seven of the top ten players in the ranking will also be. The best result in a competition that takes place on the worst surface for him is the final in 2007, where he was defeated by David Nalbandian.

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