Rafael Nadal's first ATP Finals opponent revealed

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Rafael Nadal's first ATP Finals opponent revealed

Rafael Nadal will kick off his 11th ATP Finals campaign on Sunday night. Rafa will seek his first ATP Finals crown, and his first rival will be Taylor Fritz. The Spaniard and the American will meet for the third time in 2022, playing all the matches on the big scene.

Nadal hopes for a good result on his debut in Turin, playing only six encounters after the Wimbledon withdrawal and dealing with an abdominal injury. Rafa made an early exit at the Paris Masters and needs a deep run in Turin if he wants to pass Carlos Alcaraz and finish the season as the year-end 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 massive chance against Daniil Medvedev. Rafa and Taylor reached the Indian Wells final, with the Spaniard seeking the fourth title from 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 his everything 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 quarter-final and turned it into a cracker. Nadal needed four hours and 20 minutes to score a memorable 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory despite a massive abdominal muscle tear. Rafa struggled with his initial shot, and things did not look good after the third set.

His sister Maribel and father Sebastian suggested Rafa to quit, but he decided to stay on the court until the end and fight. The Spaniard performed another incredible comeback and took sets four and five to emerge at the top and remain on the title course.

Both players won 168 points and stayed neck and neck until the deciding match tie break. They had the same number of winners and break chances, and the encounter on Centre Court took everything from both rivals. The American played well in the third set, keeping his serve safe and pressuring the Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal plays against Taylor Fritz at the start of the ATP Finals.

He broke Rafa in games three and nine and built a massive advantage 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 traded three breaks at the start of the fourth set, and Rafa grabbed two to open a 2-1 gap. Nadal found himself 4-2 ahead after a comfortable hold in game six before Fritz broke in game eight and locked the result at 4-4 after Rafa's wayward forehand.

The Spaniard stayed calm and forced the rival's mistake in the 11th game to move 6-5 ahead. Nadal held at love with a forehand winner in game twelve to secure the set and force a decider after over three hours. Rafa converted the fourth break chance with a drop shot winner in game seven for 4-3.

Taylor instantly pulled the break back 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 moved 3-0 up in the match tie break with a forced error before Taylor reduced the deficit to 5-3.

Nadal gained a 6-3 lead after his rival's loose backhand and grabbed the next point after an extended rally and a volley winner. A forehand down the line winner at 8-3 offered Nadal six match points, and he seized the second with a forehand winner to emerge at the top.

Rafael Nadal Atp Finals Taylor Fritz