Rafael Nadal is yet to win the ATP Finals crown, losing a couple of finals and missing many editions of the premium ATP event. Rafa did not play in Turin a year ago due to an injury and will have another opportunity to chase the notable title this November.
Nadal advanced to his first ATP Finals semi-final since 2015 two years ago, playing well and hoping to go all the way. The Spaniard played well against Daniil Medvedev and forged a 6-3, 5-4 lead in the semi-final, serving for the victory in game ten.
Instead of moving forward, Nadal got broken in a crucial moment. He kept the opponent alive and experienced a tough 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 defeat. Previously, Rafa lost another tight clash against Dominic Thiem in the round-robin stage, falling 7-6, 7-6 despite having chances in both sets.
Nadal's coach Carlos Moya said it was a shame that Nadal could not fight for London's title after losing the crucial points against Thiem and Medvedev.
Rafael Nadal lost tight encounters against Thiem and Medvedev in London 2020.
The Austrian grabbed his sixth victory over the Spaniard following a thrilling triumph in two hours and 25 minutes.
Like in Melbourne in January, Thiem won the decisive points against Nadal and emerged at the top. The Austrian fended off two set points in the opener and erased a break deficit in the second to prevail in straight sets and become the seventh player with six triumphs over the 20-time Major champion!
There were only two breaks of serves in the second set's games seven and eight. The rivals stayed neck and neck and produced excellent tennis that was well worth the title clash. Nadal toppled Tsitsipas in the last round-robin match to advance into the semi-final and had everything under control against Medvedev before falling in three sets.
"The ATP Finals was a pity, as I think Rafa had chances of reaching the final and battling for the title. Those tense moments usually work in his favor. Still, that was not the case against Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem.
Things are developing quickly on a fast court like London, and two or three key moments will decide the winner among the top-ranked rivals. You must stay focused and grab those crucial points, as they will likely determine the winner.
Usually, Rafa solves this type of situation in his favor, but we have to give credit to Thiem and Medvedev. They both played on a high level when it mattered the most. They won the crucial points against Rafa and came as deserved winners," Carlos Moya said.