A 22-time Major champion Rafael Nadal failed to pass the ATP Finals round-robin stage for the fifth time from 11 trips to the premium ATP event! Nadal lost both matches in Turin this week, falling to Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets and moving to the edge of elimination.
Casper Ruud took care of that after taking the opening set against Fritz, sending Nadal home and promoting Carlos Alcaraz as the year-end no. 1! Nadal came to Turin with two straight losses, and he could not change his fortune at the least favorite event on the calendar.
Struggling under a roof, the Spaniard failed to match the pace of his younger rivals, unable to overpower them from the baseline or impose his strokes in the crucial moments. Nadal battled against Fritz in the opening match and scored a 7-6, 6-1 loss.
The veteran stayed in touch in the opening set after saving three break points. He opened the breaker with a double fault, and Taylor claimed it 7-3 with a forehand down the line winner.
Rafael Nadal will not play in the ATP Finals semi-final.
The American delivered two breaks of serve in the second set and emerged at the top on his serve in game seven for his first ATP Finals victory.
Two days later, the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime also celebrated his first win at this event against Nadal, beating the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 57 minutes. The Canadian blasted 15 aces and saved all five break points to keep the pressure on the other side.
The Spaniard could not follow the rival's pace, losing serve once in each set to propel the youngster over the top. Felix had a massive 31-16 advantage in service winners and earned his victory in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.
Nadal played better in the extended exchanges, but it could not change his fortune. Auger-Aliassime fired 29 winners and 23 unforced errors. Rafa failed to impose his serve or forehand and finished the match with 12 winners and 19 unforced errors.
Felix saved two break points in the encounter's first game, and they stayed neck and neck until 3-3. The Canadian offered the Spaniard two more break chances in game seven after a volley error. Felix stayed calm and denied them with forehand winners.
Rafa opened a 40-0 lead in the eighth game before experiencing disaster! He squandered four game points and faced a break chance after the Canadian's forehand down the line winner. Nadal lost serve after a wayward forehand, and Felix held in the next one for 6-3 in 53 minutes.
Nadal squandered two game points at 1-1 in the second set and offered his rival a break opportunity after a vast forehand error at the net. Rafa saved it before spraying a volley error on the second to fall 2-1 behind. Auger-Aliassime created another break point at 3-1, and Nadal denied it to at least remain in touch.
Felix played against a break point in game six and saved it with a service winner for a 4-2 lead. Auger-Aliassime forged a 5-3 advantage with a service winner and served for the victory in game ten. The young gun emerged at the top with a service winner and celebrated his first ATP Finals triumph.