Taylor Fritz makes his ATP Finals debut against a 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal in Turin. Taylor made a great start to the season and lifted his first Masters 1000 crown in Indian Wells. The American set his eyes on the ATP Finals and earned a berth when world no.
1 Carlos Alcaraz withdrew from the competition. Taylor spoke about his first match against Rafa, calling it a big deal, as always against such a notable rival. Nadal and Fritz met in the Indian Wells final, with Rafa seeking the fourth consecutive title after a 20-0 season start.
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 in front of his crowd. The Spaniard gave his everything despite playing below his best, missing his chances in the second set and experiencing the first loss of the season.
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 him to quit, but he decided to stay on the court and fight. The Spaniard took sets four and five to emerge at the top and reach the last four. 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 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 fight. They traded three breaks at the start of the fourth set, and Rafa found himself 4-2 ahead after a comfortable hold in game six. However, Fritz broke back 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 for a break and a 6-5 lead. Nadal held at love with a forehand winner in game twelve to secure the set and force a decider. 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 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.
"Playing Rafa is a big deal. Our Wimbledon match was very tight. At the beginning of the season, my goal was to become a top-10 player this year. The year started well, and I wanted to chase a Turin spot. It became my goal, and I'm excited to be here.
I went on a three-day vacation to relax and get my body to feel good. Now I'm just training and getting ready. I want to win the title, as everyone else in the draw. I want to have a good showing and go all the way," Taylor Fritz said.