Rafael Nadal will start his 11th ATP Finals campaign on Sunday night. Rafa will seek his first crown at the ATP Finals, and his first rival will be Taylor Fritz. The Spaniard and the American will meet for the third time in 2022, playing every match in the big stage.
Nadal is hoping for a good result on his Turin debut, playing just six games after withdrawing from Wimbledon and dealing with an abdominal injury. Rafa left early at the Paris Masters and needs a good race in Turin if he is to pass Carlos Alcaraz and finish the season at No. 1 at the end of the year.
1 player for the sixth time. Nadal is 20-16 in the ATP Finals, reaching two finals in 2010 and 2013 and four more semi-finals, including two years ago when he had a big chance against Daniil Medvedev. Rafa and Taylor reached the Indian Wells final, with the Spaniard seeking his fourth title out of as many tournaments in 2022.
Struggling with a fractured rib, Nadal suffered a 6-3, 7-6 loss in two hours and six minutes as Fritz celebrated his first Masters 1000 crown. The Spaniard gave his all despite playing below his best, losing their chances in the second set and experiencing their first loss of 2022.
Two rivals met again in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and turned him into a cracker. It took Nadal four hours and 20 minutes to score a memorable 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory despite a massive abdominal muscle injury. Rafa struggled with his opening kick, and things didn’t look good after the third set.
His sister Maribel and father Sebastian suggested that Rafa give up, but he decided to stay on the court until the end and fight. The Spaniard pulled off another incredible comeback and took sets four and five to emerge on top and stay on course for the title.
Both players won 168 points and stayed neck to neck until the decisive tiebreaker of the match. They had the same number of wins and chances to break, and the encounter in Center Court took everything away from the two rivals. The American played well in the third set, keeping his serve safe and putting pressure on the Spaniard.
Rafael Nadal plays Taylor Fritz at the start of the ATP Finals.
He broke Rafa in games three and nine and built a huge lead after two hours and ten minutes. Nadal talked to the doctor and decided to continue and at least do his best on the court.
They traded three breaks early in the fourth set, and Rafa took two to open up a 2-1 lead. Nadal was 4-2 ahead after a comfortable grip in game six, before Fritz broke in game eight and closed the result at 4-4 after Rafa’s rebellious forehand.
The Spaniard kept his cool and forced his rival’s mistake in the 11th game to advance 6-5. Nadal fell in love with a winning forehand in Game Twelve to secure the set and force a decision after more than three hours. Rafa converted the fourth chance to break with a winning drop shot in game seven 4-3.
Taylor immediately pulled the counterattack and grabbed the next one with a winning backhand cross. Rafa served to stay in the next match and responded with a perfect volley into the net by 5-5. Rafa went up 3-0 in the tie break of the match with a forced error before Taylor reduced the deficit to 5-3.
Nadal gained a 6-3 lead after his rival’s loose backhand and took the next point after an extended rally and a volley winner. A forehand below the winning line at 8-3 offered Nadal six match points, and he capitalized on the second with a winning forehand to emerge on top.