Rafael Nadal will likely end his career without the ATP Finals crown in his collection. Rafa lost a couple of finals against his greatest rivals, with another chance to lift the trophy in 2020. The Spaniard reached his first ATP Finals semi-final since 2015 and led 6-3, 5-4 versus Daniil Medvedev.
Nadal failed to serve out for the triumph and experienced a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 loss to stay empty-handed in his tenth ATP Finals campaign. Rafa lost another tight clash in the round-robin stage, falling to Dominic Thiem 7-6, 7-6 in two hours and 25 minutes.
Nadal's coach Carlos Moya admitted it was a great chance to seek the missing title, although his player lost the crucial points versus both rivals and squandered his opportunities. Like in Melbourne in January, Dominic won the decisive points against Rafa.
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 a 20-time Major champion. There were only two breaks of serves in games seven and eight of set number two, with two rivals staying neck and neck and producing excellent tennis that was well worth the title clash.
Rafael Nadal lost tight encounters against Thiem and Medvedev in London.
Nadal toppled Tsitsipas in the last round-robin match to advance into the final four, having everything under control against Medvedev before falling in three sets.
The Russian prevailed in two hours and 35 minutes, scoring a vital break at 4-5 in set number two when Rafa served for the victory and never looking back. Daniil had 42 winners and 29 unforced errors, leaving Rafa on a 22-30 ratio and securing a final place.
The young player forged the advantage in the most advanced rallies, saving his best tennis for the last four games to seal the deal and set the Dominic Thiem clash. "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, but that was not the case against Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem. Things are developing quickly on a fast court like in 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 who takes the victory home. Usually, Rafa solves this type of situation in his favor, but we have to praise Thiem and Medvedev, who 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.