Isner keeps Tour finals hopes alive as Nadal withdraws in Paris

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The 31-year-old battled wrist problems in 2014 that caused him to miss the U.S. Open, and he ended his season prematurely in October that year to undergo appendix surgery.

Federer has beaten Nadal four consecutive times - not dropping a set in three of them - and the 19-time Grand Slam champion was in outside contention for the No. 1 ranking before pulling out of Paris to focus on the season-ending ATP Finals in London next week.

"For me, it's not about London".

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Tournament director Guy Forget was not so sure Nadal would be fit in less than two weeks' time.

And when Federer withdrew from the final event of the regular season in the French capital, Nadal needed to win just one match to be certain of ending 2017 at the summit. I know a lot of players talk about the season being too long, but I don't think that.

November 3, 2017 USA's John Isner celebrates winning his quarter final match against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro. "It would be a very big deal if I qualified", Isner said. The way that I am today I do not see myself playing three more matches. "I like Grigor, the way he is playing right now".

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Victory for Del Potro, who was well out of the race before reaching the US Open semi-finals, would have assured him of one of the eight spots in London.

"But at the same time, a few weeks ago I didn't expect to be in this position at all". In the match against the Uruguayan, Nadal's movement looked restricted and he lacked his usual speed and mobility around the court and that resulted in Nadal making seven double faults.

But Del Potro appeared to be struggling with his fitness, and was broken early in the third set after Isner successfully challenged a line call when 40-15 down. That's why so numerous players have pulled out of tournaments so they can get themselves ready. "But if nothing odd happens then I'm going to be there, of course", the world number one said.

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