With Roger Federer crashing out of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the stage seems set for another final between the two best players in the world - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal takes on Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, after the Swiss players displaced Federer at No. 7 in the rankings.
Rafael Nadal returns during his match against Carlos Berlocq in the Shanghai Masters, October 10
Wawrinka, like his compatriot Federer, is chasing a place in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, and will know a win against Nadal will take him one step closer to that aim.
Nadal, though, has been in stunning form on the hard courts and produced another ruthless performance against Berlocq in the pre-quarterfinals, even if he was made to work for it in the second set.
The Spaniard won 6-1, 7-6 (5) against Berlocq, and will now look to stamp his authority on Wawrinka with the final just a couple of wins away.
"(I was) happy the way I played at the end," Nadal said. "I think I played a fantastic first set. (In) the second (set), I felt a little bit more tired. He had a big opportunity in the tie-break with the 5-2.
"So I was lucky I played three great points in that moment. Unfortunately for him, he hit a double fault. At the end (it)was close, emotional. (I'm) very happy to be through.
"Berlocq is a great example of player who never gives up, a player who (has) always improved throughout his career. (He is a) good guy, (a) good fighter."
At the other half of the draw, Novak Djokovic, who defeated Fabio Fognini in the pre-quarters, will have to be wary of Gael Monfils, after the Frenchman upset Federer in three sets 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3.
"It's a good win for me," Monfils said after beating Federer. "I feel a bit sorry for him because I know he's running for London. But it's tennis. He's going to have more opportunity those weeks coming up.
"He's still strong. It's just a matter of confidence, I think. I have no doubt that he will get back to the way people expect him."
Djokovic said he is expecting a tough match against Monfils, particularly if the French player comes up trumps on his serve.
"Monfils, from I watched, was the better player on the court and he deserved to win," the Serbian said. "He's always tricky when he serves big, as big as he served today.
"I think, he's one of the most interesting tennis players to watch because he's so athletic, he's so fast, he moves around the court well. He's somebody that feeds off the energy of the crowd. He loves to play big matches on a big stage."
The other two quarterfinal matches are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Florian Mayer and Juan Martin Del Potro vs Nicolas Almagro.
Where to watch
The first quarterfinal match is scheduled to start at 11.30 a.m. (IST) with Nadal and Djokovic set for the final two quarterfinals. Live telecast is scheduled on Star Sports.
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