ATP Finals: What went wrong for Rafael Nadal vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime?



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ATP Finals: What went wrong for Rafael Nadal vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime?

Rafael Nadal is yet to score a win since the US Open third round! The Spaniard has lost four consecutive matches for the first time since 2009, dealing with an abdominal injury and struggling to find form. Rafa skipped two months and returned at the Paris Masters, knowing he could not expect much with a roof above his head.

Nadal fell to Tommy Paul in the second round and made an early trip to Turin ahead of the ATP Finals. The Spaniard embraced his 11th ATP Finals run, seeking the first title and hoping to raise his level. Despite giving his best, Rafa is 0-2 after the second round-robin duel following losses to Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The Spaniard played well against the American in the opening set before losing it in the tie break. Fritz was the only player on the court in the second round, delivering two breaks to emerge at the top. Nadal faced Felix Auger-Aliassime on Tuesday and experienced his first defeat against the Canadian.

Felix was the favorite and scored a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 57 minutes for his first win at the ATP Finals. The Canadian blasted 15 aces and defended all five break points to keep his serve intact and mount the pressure on the other side.

The Spaniard gave his best to stay in touch, but it was not to be for him. Rafa hit four double faults and gave serve away once in each set to propel the youngster over the finish line. Felix had a massive 31-16 advantage in service winners and built his victory in the shortest range up to four strokes.

Nadal played better in the extended rallies but needed more to keep himself safe until at least one tie break. Auger-Aliassime dictated the pace with 29 winners and 23 unforced errors. Rafa failed to impose his serve or forehand, finishing the match with 12 winners and 19 unforced errors.

Felix faced two break points in the encounter's first game. He saved them with strong hitting to avoid an early setback and closed the game with a service winner.

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals.

There was nothing to separate them in the next five games, with Nadal holding at 15 in game six to lock the result at 3-3.

The Canadian faced another test in game seven when his volley landed long, offering the Spaniard two more break chances. Felix stayed calm and denied both with forehand winners ahead of the pivotal hold. Rafa opened a 40-0 lead in the eighth game before everything went wrong for him!

The Spaniard squandered four game points and faced a break point after the Canadian's forehand down the line winner. Rafa missed a forehand to lose serve and find himself 5-3 behind. Felix served for the set in game nine and closed it after Rafa's forced mistake for 6-3 after 53 minutes.

Nadal placed a crafty forehand winner at 1-1 in the second set for two game points. The Spaniard squandered them and gave his rival a break point after a vast forehand error at the net from an ideal position. Rafa saved it before facing the second.

He sprayed a volley error to get broken and fall 2-1 behind. Auger-Aliassime closed the fourth game after Nadal's backhand error to cement the advantage and move closer to the finish line. Rafa erased a break point in game five and created a break chance in the next one when Felix netted a routine forehand.

The Canadian saved it with a powerful serve and held for 4-2. Auger-Aliassime fired another unreturned serve in the eighth game to open a 5-3 gap and force Nadal to serve to stay in the match. Rafa closed the ninth game at 30 to reduce the deficit, and Felix served for the victory in the next one.

Auger-Aliassime wrapped up the tenth game with a service winner to emerge at the top and increase his semi-final chances.