Tsonga had displayed fine form in Paris heading into Friday's (November 1) encounter, but Nadal, who is still yet to win the ATP 1000 event, had too much quality after making the breakthrough in a hard-fought first set. (TENNIS NEWS)
While Nadal laboured at times, Novak Djokovic, who will relinquish his number one status to the Spaniard next week, had no such issues as he confidently dispatched Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini – who was sent out by Tsonga in the last 32 – clinched the last remaining ATP Finals spot thanks to Denis Shapovalov's straight sets victory over Gael Monfils.
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NADAL DIGS DEEP
Nadal twice had to serve to stay in the first set, but having forced the tie-break, a wonderful backhand pass paved the way for him to forge ahead.
With the serve dominating throughout set one, it was Tsonga who blinked first in the second – Nadal taking full advantage of two sloppy shots to secure a first break of the match.
Soon-to-be World No. 1 Nadal had finally hit his stride, playing a sublime through-the-legs shot to further drain Tsonga's confidence.
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Despite showing resilience to hold, Tsonga was soon a double-break down, with Nadal wrapping up a 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 win when his opponent sent a desperate backhand return into the net.
BERRETTINI COMPLETES LONDON FIELD
With defending ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev having claimed his spot at the O2 earlier in the week, there was one place up for grabs heading into Friday's play.
The permutations were simple, with Monfils – ranked 10th in the Race for London – needing a win to take the place of Berrettini.
However, the French No. 1 came unstuck in some style against Shapovalov, who cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 triumph, and Berrettini now completes the top eight, alongside Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Tsitsipas and Zverev.