There may be no crowds in London this year but the best in mens tennis has delivered day by day in London and as the semi-finals loom some business had to be sorted on Thursday night.
Win or bust. Nadal and Tsitsipas for a place in the semi-final. Tsitsipas was last years champion but lost to Nadal in the round robin and the Spaniard has never won the ATP Finals.
These two have had some fascinating battles over the last year or so, the majority of them going to Nadal leading the head to head at 5-1. I was there for the one in Madrid last year and it was soo much fun watching these two battle.
Tstisipas has spoken about his troubles against Nadal before and the spin he puts on the ball but Tsitsipas has found making an impression on his serve a problem. Last November he didn’t create a break point and he struggled early on Thursday night to make in-roads.
The serve of the Spaniard as a problem for Stefanos and Rafa time and time again looked into going to his backhand and he’d get that short central return time and time again allowing him to take control with the forehand.
The Greek did well on his service games but made no impression on Nadal’s for some time, he slipped up at 4-4 and went onto lose the first set 4-6 but recovered in the second.
He continued to impress on serve and then at 5-4 he went for it on return and just seemed a little bit more confident in returning and took the second 6-4 after a Nadal double fault.
Tstisipas was serving first in the third set but neither play got to grips with things in the first few games with three consecutive breaks of serve. It turned into one way traffic as Rafa raised his level from 1-2 to lead 5-2 and serve for the match and a place in the semi-finals.
From 0-30 down and for the first time in five years the Spaniard is back in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals.
An incredible 71st consecutive win from Nadal after winning the first set.