As you already know I spent a few days in Paris to attend the BNP Paribas Masters. Nadal, Djokovic, Federer… I’ve had the chance to watch the best battle for the number 1 spot or for a qualification to the ATP Finals in London. Here’s a quick recap of my week.

Day 0 (Sunday, October 27 )

Paris. Last time I was in Paris was in May for the French Open, but the weather is the same: it rains. No tennis for me today but a walk on the Seine waterfront. You can read here about all my wanderings in Paris during the week.

Today is the last day of the qualifiers. Matches are played on courts 1 and 2 (300 spectators each), the reduced capacity of these courts means that spectators are close to the players. Santiago Giraldo, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Michal Przysiesny, Bernard Tomic, Igor Sijsling and Robin Haase qualify for the main draw.

Day 1 (Monday, October 28 )

Feliciano Lopez

No schedule nonsense like last year, and some interesting matches on Centre Court for the day session:
– Lukas Rosol defeats Jérémy Chardy 6-3 6-4
Feliciano Lopez – Bernard Tomic: an hard-fought victory for Feliciano.
Fernando Verdasco – Ernests Gulbis: another Spaniard against another headcase.

The day session ends quite early and we are allowed to watch Federer practising. He seems really relaxed and jokes with Michael Llodra. On the other half of the court Nishikori warms up seriously with a sparring partner.
Kei Nishikori – Julien Benneteau: a solid performance by the Japanese player.
– in the other match of the night session, qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert beats Benoit Paire 6-2 6-2. Booed by the crowd for his lackadaisical play, Paire calls the spectators morons. Yep, a really nice guy that Paire.

On court 1, Marin Cilic -who comes back after a four month doping-ban- defeats Igor Sisjling in 3 sets. Other results:
Santiago Giraldo def. Adrian Mannarino 6-3 2-6 6-4
Robin Haase def. Denis Istomin 7-6 6-3
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Andreas Seppi 6-3 3-6 6-4

Day 2 (Tuesday, October 29 )

Kei Nishikori and Jo Tsonga

A beautiful day today in Paris. Before tennis, a visit to the Musée des Arts Forains and a walk in the Parc de Bercy.

– I missed the first match on Centre Court, Grigor Dimitrov – Michael Llodra: 6-7 6-3 6-3 for Dimitrov, Llodra announces 2014 will be his last year on the circuit.
– Pablo Andujar – Vacek Popisil: an unexpected win for the 28 year old Spaniard. Andujar was at home in Valencia when he received a call announcing him the forfeit of Gael Monfils. He replaced him in the main draw and got past the young Canadian.
Richard Gasquet – Fernando Verdasco: with this win, the Frenchman moves a bit closer to the ATP Finals.

A hot dog, a glimpse at Djokovic practice, and I’m ready for the night session and the second round match between Kei Nishikori and Jo Wilfried Tsonga, hands down the most entertaining match I’ve watched all week.
– next match on center court is Djokovic against Herbert, let’s say I’m not Djokovic biggest fan, so I pass. The world number 189 has two set points before losing to the world number 2 in straight sets.

Other results:
Michal Przysiezny def. Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 7-6
Nicolas Mahut def. Alexander Dolgopolov 7-6 6-1
Ivan Dodig def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 6-4
Marcel Granollers def. Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 6-4
Kevin Anderson def. Mikhail Youzhny 4-6 7-6 2-1 ret.

Day 3 (Wednesday, October 30 )

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, Federer, Ferrer, Del Potro: the big names are out on court today.

– Gilles Simon – Nicolas Mahut: Simon wins the 3 hours battle opposing the two French players. I was quite surprised to see the crowd was really pro-Simon, wonder why because he must have one of the most boring game ever, and let’s not talk about his personnality.
Juan Martin Del Potro – Marin Cilic: Cilic’ coach Goran Ivanisevic in the stands to watch his player lose to recent Basel winner, Del Potro.
Rafael Nadal – Marcel Granollers: the indoor court at Bercy is far from Nadal’s favourite surface but he’s targeting a strong finish to the year. 7-5 7-5 victory for the world number, who was playing his first match in four years at Bercy.

Other results:
David Ferrer def. Lukas Rosol 6-0 2-6 6-3
John Isner def. Michal Przysiezny 7-6 4-6 6-3
Nicolas Almagro def. Ivan Dodig 6-4 6-3
Stanislas Wawrinka def. Feliciano Lopez 6-3 3-6 6-3
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Tommy Haas 6-2 6-2
Tomas Berdych def. Pablo Andujar 6-2 7-5
Roger Federer def. Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-4

Day 4 (Thursday, October 31 )

No tennis for me today, but a visit to the Manufacture des Gobelins, and a street art tour in the 13th arrondissement.
No surprise at Bercy today: all the favorites are through to the quarter-finals. For the first time in the tournament history, the eight quarter-finalists are qualified for the ATP Finals in London.

Stanislas Wawrinka def. Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-2
David Ferrer def. Gilles Simon (FRA/15) 6-2 6-3
Novak Djokovic def. John Isner 6-7 6-1 6-2
Juan Martin Del Potro def. Grigor Dimitrov 3-6 6-3 6-4
Roger Federer def. Philipp Kolhschreiber 6-3 6-4
Tomas Berdych def. Milos Raonic 7-6 6-4
Richard Gasquet def. Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-2
Rafael Nadal def. Jerzy Janowicz 7-5 6-4

Day 5 (Friday, November 1 )

Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro

Last day of my vacation in Paris today, but before I leave, a walk in Chinatown on the morning and two quarter-finals on the afternoon: read the complete quarter-finals recap here.

Hope you enjoyed this recap, you can find all Bercy 2013 articles here.

A week in Paris

Whenever I attend a tennis tournament, I try to combine tennis and a bit of sightseeing.
I’ve been to Paris many times – I’ve even worked in Paris for a year – so this time I wanted to get off the beaten path, so no touristy places like Champs Elysées or Montmartre, and explore the 12th district (where Bercy is located) and the 13th district (where I stayed for a few days).

12th and 13th districts are much less touristy than central Paris but are nonetheless a fascinating area to explore on foot.

Modern architecture walk

These riverside districts have been in permanent mutation for the past 30 years and are shaping up to be the new architectural face of the capital. If you’re an architecture buff, you should enjoy this walk on the waterfront, from the Pavillon de l’Arsenal to the Parc de Bercy.

Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir

Read the complete article here.

Bercy Village and Parc de Bercy

This area was once devoted to the trade of wine. Next to Cour Saint-Emilion, you can still spot the warehouses, now converted into restaurants, offices, shops and a museum.

The Cinémathèque, designed by Frank Gehry and the POPB, home of the BNP Paribas Masters border the park:

La Cinémathèque Française

POPB

For more pics and infos on Bercy neighbourhood, click here.

Musée des Arts Forains

Even if you don’t like museums, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. This is a must if you want to do something different in Paris.
Housed in a former wine warehouse, the Musée des Arts Forains (Fairground Museum) is a wonderland of vintage carousels, carnival rides and games.

It’s not the traditional museum where you can only watch and can’t touch, here visitors ride on the carousels and try out the other attractions like the waiters’ race.

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

I really had a great time and for a couple hours I was a kid again.

Butte aux cailles

Full of bars and restaurants, the Butte Aux Cailles is a great place to chill out.

The Butte Aux Cailles district sits on a small hill, rising around 60 meters, between the noisy Place d’Italie and Chinatown.
The neighborhood was named after Pierre Caille, former landowner in 1543. At the time, Butte aux Cailles only consisted in uninhabited terrain and a few windmills bordering the rivière de la Bièvre (River Bièvre).
The 17th century saw the development of numerous industrial activities around the river which led to Butte aux Cailles becoming the center for tanning. Unfortunately, the dye factories turned the River Bièvre into an open-air sewer so they decided to bury it under the French capital.

Today la Butte aux Cailles retains the feeling of a small village in the middle of a big city.

Butte aux cailles

Street art in the 13th arrondissement

Street art

Street art

Chinatown

South of Tolbiac the shop signs suddenly turn Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian, oriental spices fill the air and even McDonalds is decked out ‘à la Chinoise’. Welcome to Paris main Chinatown (Quartier Chinois), set amid 60s tower blocks in the triangle formed by avenue d’Ivry, avenue de Choisy and boulevard Masséna.

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Not really a must do but if you happen to be in the 13th arrondissement it is nonetheless worth visiting.

Manufacture des Gobelins

The royal tapestry factory was founded by Colbert when he set up the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne in 1662; it’s named after Jean Gobelin, a dyer who owned the site. It reached the summit of its renown during the ancien régime, when Gobelins tapestries were produced for royal residences under artists such as Le Brun. The name Gobelins thus became famous throughout the courts of Europe.

Tapestries are still made here and visitors can watch weavers at work.

 

What a difference a year makes: last year, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament, whereas Novak Djokovic crashed out in his first match, losing to Sam Querrey in the second round.
This year for the first time, the Bercy quarter-finalists are the eight men qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
I’ve had tickets for the day session and get to watch Djokovic-Wawrinka and Federer-Del Potro. Here’s a quick recap:

Djokovic vs Wawrinka

6-1 6-4 for Djokovic. The score is flattering for the Serb but doesn’t really reflect the match.
Wawrinka fought a lot and had a lot of opportunities to break Djokovic’s serve but the world number 2 was simply more consistant.

Pics of the match.

Federer vs Del Potro

Roger Federer has had one of his worst season ever in 2013, but he seems to have found his form back of late. And indeed, for a set and a half, Federer looked like his old self: effective on serve, aggressive on return, with a will to finish the points at the net. 6-3 for Federer.
First break points for Del Potro at 5-4 in the second set and the Argentinian levels the match.
Both players exchange beaks of serve at the start of the third set but the 17-time Grand Slam winner goes for his shots and has the last word: 6-4 3-6 6-3 for the Swiss.

Pics and videos of the match.

Nadal vs Gasquet

Finalist in 2007 (loss to Nalbandian), Nadal hasn’t made the trip to the end-of-year Paris tournament in four years. But this year, with the world number one ranking at stake, he seems determined to do well at Bercy.
After two not so convincing victories over Marcel Granollers and Jerzy Janowicz, Rafa cruised past Richard Gasquet in straight sets 6-4 6-1.
Despite this loss (Gasquet is now 0-12 against Nadal), it was a good week for the Frenchman who qualified for the ATP Finals for the second time of his career.

Ferrer vs Berdych

As usual, the 2012 champion kind of flew under the radar, but David Ferrer overcame Tomas Berdych 4-6 7-5 6-3 to advance to the last four and set up an all-Spanish semi-final.

Read the quarter-finals recap here.

Read the quarter-finals recap here.

Tougher match than expected for Rafa who needed two tight sets to defeat countryman Marcel Granollers.
Nadal struggled to find his rhythm and made a lot of unusual forehand errors.

Next opponent for Nadal: last year surprising runner-up Jerzy Janowicz.

Rafa’s interview after the match:

More videos of Nadal’s second round match.