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Resurgent Rafa-Nadal defeats Tsitsipas to keep his hopes alive at ATP Finals 2020

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Rafael Nadal once again showed the world why he has been at the top for so long. After an epic do or die three-setter, Rafa prevailed over Tsitsipas 6-4,4-6,6-2.

While Nadal was coming off a loss at the hands of the world number 3 Dominic Thiem, Tsitsipas had defeated Andrey Rublev to keep his hopes alive in the London 2020 group. And with Thiem comfortably qualified as the group topper and Rublev out of the tournament, it was a winner takes it all game between Rafa and Stefano Tsitsipas, in which Rafa stamped his authority.

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This also means that Nadal has now reached the semis of the year ending event and will take on Tokyo 1970 group leader Daniil Medvedev.


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“I think I played quite well,” says Rafa

There was little to differentiate between Nadal and Tsitsipas early on, as both men cruised through their first three service games with impressive serving and first-strike tennis. But slowly, it was the Spaniard who began to dig his teeth into the Greek’s service games.

Tsitsipas was not entirely in rhythm on the backhand wing, and he made an error into the net to face breakpoint. The five-time ATP Tour titlist then double-faulted to give the lefty the advantage.

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The second set followed a similar pattern, although Tsitsipas battled in every rally and could barely believe it when his hitherto laser-focused opponent double-faulted to gift his parity.

Also read: The thrill, the game, the set, the match: Thiem outclasses Nadal in an epic encounter

However, Nadal expectedly gave away nothing in the final set, breaking Tsitsipas twice to take away the win.

“It was a very positive match for me and I’m looking forward to the semi-finals [for the first time in five years],” he said. “Last year I was a little bit unlucky [after winning two matches]. The year before I had to pull out. It is always difficult to play here every single day against the best players in the world at the end of the season, a little bit tired.”

“I think I played quite well for such a long time,” Rafa concluded

Thiem falters, Rublev signs off in style

In the other fixture of the group, Dominic Thiem was up against Andrey Rublev and while the game was inconsequential in terms of the tournament result, the fact that almost 200 ATP points were on offer made Rublev work hard for redemption.

In the end, Rublev prevailed over Thiem in a 6-2,7-5 win.

With the fact that I was already qualified in the back of my mind, it was maybe difficult today to keep that intensity alive,” said Thiem, who had already clinched top spot in Group London 2020.

Thiem will face off the winner of today’s Zverev vs Djokovic winner in the semis.



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Also read:

NextGen ascending-Mighty Medvedev breaks the Djoker juggernaught in ATP Finals

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