World No. 2 tennis player Rafael Nadal confirmed his spot in the final four at the ATP Finals with a three-set win against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the defending champion, who is out of the tournament.
Nadal prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-2 to claim the semi-finals slot available. The Spaniard will now face Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the final.
Two double-faults told the story of the opening two sets. First, Tsitsipas gave Nadal the opportunity to serve out the opener after cracking to slip 5-4 behind. Nadal gratefully accepted and took advantage.
That was reversed in the second as Nadal, unflappable on his serve, missed the line unexpectedly to gift his opponent an opportunity back into the contest when down to a set-point.
The game went into a decider that was littered with service breaks, including three consecutively at the start. Then, Nadal grabbed the initiative to finish off the match.
“I think I played quite well for such a long time. That game at 5-4 in the second set affected me a little bit, but then I was able to get the break early in the third, then he broke me and I broke again,” Nadal noted post-match.
“I was winning serves quite comfortably until that moment, after that everything changed and I started to serve worse.
“But in general terms it was a positive match for me. To reach the semi-finals in the last tournament of the year is an important thing.”
Surprisingly, the imperial Nadal has never won the season-ending tournament. Now, he is just two matches from the title and in the form that it cannot be reasoned that he will not add it to his haul.
The Spaniard needed a win to progress having arrived with one victory and one defeat, against Andrey Rublev and Dominic Thiem respectively, in his opening two matches in Group London 2020.