Rafael Nadal will begin his 11th campaign at the ATP Finals on Sunday night. Rafa will seek his first crown in the ATP Finals, and his first rival will be Taylor Fritz. The Spanish and the American will face each other for the third time in 2022, playing all the matches on the big stage.
Nadal is hoping for a good result on his Turin debut, playing just six games after being dropped from Wimbledon and dealing with an abdominal injury. Rafa made an early start at the Paris Masters and needs a deep run in Turin if he wants to pass Carlos Alcaraz and finish the season as world no.
1 player for the sixth time. Nadal is 20-16 at 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 in as many tournaments in 2022.
Struggling with a fractured rib, Nadal experienced a 6-3, 7-6 loss in two hours and six minutes, with Fritz celebrating his first Masters 1000 crown. The Spaniard gave it his all despite playing below his best. , missing his chances in the second set and experiencing the first loss of 2022.
Two rivals met again in the Wimbledon quarterfinals and made him a crack. Nadal needed four hours and 20 minutes to score a memorable 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 win despite a massive muscle tear in his abdomen. Rafa had problems with his initial shot and things did not look good after the third set.
His sister Maribel and his father Sebastián suggested that Rafa resign, 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 remain in the title field.
Both players earned 168 points and stood shoulder to shoulder until the deciding tiebreaker of the match. They had the same number of winners and break chances, and the encounter on Center Court took it all for both 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 big lead after two hours and ten minutes. Nadal spoke with the doctor and decided to continue and at least give his best on the court.
They exchanged three breaks at the start of the fourth set, with Rafa taking two to open a 2-1 gap. Nadal found himself out to a 4-2 lead after comfortable control in game six before Fritz broke in game eight and sealed the result at 4-4 after a wayward forehand from Rafa.
The Spaniard remained calm and forced the opponent’s error in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead. Nadal fell in love with a forehand winner in game twelve to clinch the set and force a decider after more than three hours. Rafa converted the fourth break chance with a drop shot winner in game seven for 4-3.
Taylor instantly withdrew the fast break and grabbed the next one with a backhand crosscourt winner. Rafa served to stay in the match in the next one and responded with a perfect volley winner at the net for 5-5. Rafa went 3-0 up in the match tie-break with a forced error before Taylor cut the deficit to 5-3.
Nadal gained a 6-3 lead after a loose backhand from his opponent and took the next point after a lengthy exchange and volley winner. A forehand down the line winner at 8-3 offered Nadal six match points, and he converted the second with a forehand winner to emerge on top.