Rafael Nadal claimed his 20th Major crown in October 2020 at Roland Garros. Rafa returned to Paris a few weeks later and entered the Paris Masters, facing Feliciano Lopez in the second round. Nadal toppled his compatriot 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 and earned a massive milestone.
Rafa became the fourth player with 1000 ATP victories, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer on the special list. It was the tenth victory for the Spaniard over the older compatriot, prevailing in set number two and scoring an early break in the decider that pushed him over the top.
Rafa saved three out of four break chances and grabbed one out of seven break points. Nadal kicked off the match with a double fault and suffered an early break and a setback. Lopez confirmed the advantage with a service winner in game two before Nadal got his name on the scoreboard with a hold at 30.
The veteran saved a break chance with an ace down the T line in the fourth game, and Nadal fired another ace to remain within one break deficit. Feliciano moved 5-3 in front with an ace before Rafa closed the ninth game at love and forced Lopez to serve for the set.
With no sign of nerves, the 39-year-old held at love following a service winner to wrap up the opener 6-4 in 40 minutes. With no room for errors, Nadal lost four points behind the initial shot in set number two and created five break chances to keep the pressure on the other side.
Rafa held at 15 with an unreturned serve in the first game and earned two break opportunities at 2-1. Feliciano saved them to stay on the scoreboard's positive side before playing against four more break opportunities at 2-3.
After a slow start, Rafael Nadal beat Feliciano Lopez in Paris 2020 for 1000th win.
Nadal failed to convert them, serving well by the end of the set but not creating more opportunities ahead of the tie break. At 3-3, Rafa landed a volley winner to grab a mini-break and fired two winners to earn three set points.
Lopez saved the opening two on his serve before Nadal seized the third to seal the set and gather a boost ahead of the decider. The younger Spaniard clinched a break at love in the third set's first game and defended two break chances in the next one to move 2-0 in front.
Both players served well in the remaining games, and Rafa sealed the deal with a hold in game ten, advancing into the third round and securing his 1000th ATP win. "It was a tough start against a great player on this surface.
He had a lot of great results, and he knows me very well. It was my first hard-court match in a long time, especially indoors. I started the encounter in the worst possible way, especially against a big server like Feliciano.
I played under a lot of pressure in the rest of the clash, but I found a way, which is the most important thing. This victory is the one that I'm very proud of. Sometimes, personal satisfaction is more significant when you win matches like this than if you go on court and score a 6-3, 6-3 victory," Rafael Nadal said.