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.

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.

How tough it was for Gasquet! He needed 3 sets, 5 match points and 2 hours and 40 minutes to defeat Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-7 6-3. Thanks to that hard-fought win, Gasquet was still en course for a qualification to the ATP Finals.

It was no vacation time for Verdasco either: he qualified for the ATP Finals with doubles partner David Marrero.

Richard Gasquet takes part for the second time to the World Tour Finals. Here’s the outfit he’ll wear in London:

Richard Gasquet

gasquet1

It’s time to wear white again. Check out some pics of the new HEAD White Bag collection, consisting of the HEAD White Monstercombi Tennis Racquet Bag and the 4 Majors Club Bag.

For every Grand Slam tournament the series introduces a new club bag in a bespoke design. As part of the White Series the first 4 Majors Club Bag, coloured in white with green striped shoulder straps, comes right in time for Wimbledon. The HEAD Club Bag collection will also feature different colours and designs for the upcoming US Open, the Australian Open and the French Open.

The new White Bag collection will be premiered at Wimbledon by Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet.

Novak Djokovic

Andy Murray

Tomas Berdych

The new HEAD White Bag collection is a limited edition and is available in-store at selected retailers now.