Rafael Nadal battles back from a set down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas

Rafael Nadal battles back from a set down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and reignite world No 1’s ATP Finals hopes

  • Rafael Nadal fought back from a set down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 6-4 7-5
  • The Greek star took the opening set 7-6 after winning the tie breaker 7-4
  • Nadal broke his opponent’s serve late on in the second set to take it 6-4 

Rafael Nadal staged another comeback to stay in contention for a semi-final spot at the ATP Finals.

The top-ranked Spaniard still needs help from Daniil Medvedev to avoid an early exit.

Nadal rallied to beat already-qualified Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 on Friday for his second win of the round-robin stage. That still won’t be enough, though, if Alexander Zverev beats Medvedev in the last match of the group phase.

Rafael Nadal fought back from being a set behind to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in London

That would leave Zverev, Nadal and Tsitispas with identical 2-1 records. But Nadal would finish third in the group based on the tournament’s tiebreaker rules.

Making things worse for Nadal is that his win ended Medvedev’s chances of advancing, meaning the Russian (0-2) has only pride to play for against Zverev.

Nadal lost his opening match to Zverev and saved a match point at 5-1 down in the third set against Medvedev on Wednesday before rallying to win.

The comeback against Tsitsipas wasn’t quite as dramatic. Nadal never faced a break point in the match but lost the last three points of the first-set tiebreaker to hand the Greek the lead.

The world no 1 entered the Group A clash needing a win to reignite his ATP Finals title hopes

But he broke for a 5-3 lead in the second set and again to make it 6-5 in the third, then converted his first match point when Tsitsipas netted a forehand.

Regardless of whether he advances, Nadal is guaranteed to leave London with the year-end No 1 ranking after Novak Djokovic was eliminated in the group stage on Thursday with a loss to Roger Federer.

It’s the fifth time that the 19-time Grand Slam winner ends the year atop the rankings, tied for second on the all-time list with Djokovic, Federer and Jimmy Connors. Pete Sampras did it six times.

Greek star Tsitsipas had edged a set in front in London before Nadal rallied to clinch victory

At 33, Nadal is the oldest man to finish the year as No 1.

However, he has never won the ATP Finals despite qualifying for a 15th year in a row. 

He has had to pull out of the tournament on six occasions because of injuries and reached the final only twice, the last time in 2013.




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