Rafael Nadal had a great opportunity to reach the first ATP Finals title game since 2013 12 months ago, serving for the victory against Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals after one hour and 24 minutes. Rather than seal the deal, Rafa broke down in that 10th game while leading 6-3, 5-4, lost the tie break and allowed Daniil to add four straight games in the deciding set and remain on the title course.
After the match, Nadal said that he did not lose energy in the final set, praised his opponent who played better than him when it mattered most and wished the Russian all the best in the future. Daniil won 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours and 35 minutes en route to his first ATP Finals title match, shooting 42 winners and 29 unforced errors and leaving Rafa at a ratio of 22.
-30. The Russian built the lead in the more advanced rallies and saved his best tennis for the last four games to put Dominic Thiem in the crash. Nadal held out at 30 early in the match after forcing Medvedev's backhand error and had to fight back in the third game before fending off three break opportunities.
Daniil secured the fourth game with a winning serve and secured the score for the third time in game six, doing his best to keep in touch with the Spaniard from the baseline. Medvedev lost ground at 3-4 and added a forehand error to suffer a scoreless break, allowing Rafa to take the set 6-3 with his serve.
In the second set, Daniil was the most aggressive player, hitting 21 winners and ten unforced errors to open a 4-1 gap.
Nadal will return to the courts next week
Rafael Nadal took to Twitter to pay tribute to Spanish tennis legend Manolo Santana following the latter's death at the age of 83 on Saturday.
"I have just received the terrible news of the passing of our great Manolo Santana," Nadal wrote. "As I have said many times in the past: thank you so much for what you did for our country and for marking the path of so many."
The 35-year-old added that he always considered Santana a friend. "You were always a reference, a friend and a person close to everyone," Nadal said. "We will miss you Manolo; you will always be unique and special.
Greetings to your family and a lot of strength at this time. We will never forget you." Rafael Nadal was not the only player to pay tribute to Santana following the news of his demise. Two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.
1 Simona Halep also took to Twitter to mourn the loss of a "tennis legend" and "kind man." "We lost a tennis legend and a great, kind man today. Rest In Peace Manolo Santana," she wrote.