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Rafael Nadal battles back against Kevin Anderson in Paris.

Rafa Bullish In Paris

Nadal roars back to book spot in BNP Paribas Masters QFs

Rafael Nadal guaranteed himself the last remaining spot in the BNP Paribas Masters quarter-finals on Thursday, saving a match point against Kevin Anderson to prevail 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-2.

In the final match on Court Central, the No. 7 seed upped his FedEx ATP Head2Head record to 3-0 against the South African. The Spaniard will next face Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, against whom he is 13-2.

It was the 12th-ranked Anderson who drew first blood at the AccorHotels Arena, breaking for a 2-1 first-set lead. The 29-year-old would go on to serve out the set at 5-4, his eighth ace of the match punctuating the hold at the 38-minute mark.

But as he so often does, Nadal would show some steely resolve in extending the match. He saved a match point trailing 5-6 in the second-set tiebreak to force the decider, and was a perfect seven-for-seven in net points in the middle stanza alone.

Nadal kept his foot on the pedal in the third set, consolidating an early break to move ahead 2-0. He would save six break points in the 12-minute-long fourth game, and subsequently go up a double break at 5-2.

Equally as impressive off the ground as he was on his serve, Anderson would total 20 aces in the loss.

Nadal improved to 58-18 on the year. His 764 career wins are good enough for ninth place on the Open Era list, one ahead of Pete Sampras. He is still seeking his first ATP Masters 1000 title of 2015.

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