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ATP Finals: Nadal stages phenomenal comeback to win 'one out of 1000' match against Medvedev

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 14 Nov 2019
  • Nadal produces sensational comeback to beat Medvedev in deciding set tiebreak in London
  • The Spaniard recovered from 1-5 down and saved a match point en route to victory
Rafael Nadal (PA Images)

In his own words, Rafael Nadal was ‘super lucky’ to produce a stunning comeback against Daniil Medvedev to keep his bid for a first ATP Finals title alive on Wednesday night.

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Some luck might have been involved, but Nadal isn’t known as the sport’s most relentless and best fighter for nothing, with the 19-time major champion recovering from the brink of defeat to conquer Medvedev in three sets in the pair’s Group Andre Agassi clash at the ATP Finals.

In their first match since the U.S. Open final, Medvedev appeared as if he was going to get some measure of revenge as he stormed to a 5-1 lead in the deciding set and creating a match point for himself  on Nadal’s serve, which the Spaniard saved with a deft drop shot.

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev shake hands (PA Images)
And from there, the entire complexion of the match changed, with Nadal mounting an extraordinary comeback and striking in the closing stages, completing a 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4) victory in two hours and 47 minutes.

”I’ve been super lucky,” Nadal said. “Sorry for Daniil. It’s a tough loss. He was playing much better than me in the third set. It’s one of these days, one out of 1,000, where you win.
”I know from my personal experience how tough it is to close out matches, especially when you have two breaks in front and you lose the first one. [At 3-5], I thought I had a chance. I think I was a little bit better in the end. In general terms, I think I was playing much better than two days ago, so that’s a very positive thing for me.”

In addition to keeping him in the tournament, Nadal’s win over Medvedev also means that Novak Djokovic must claim the title in order to usurp him for the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Nadal was beaten in straight sets by defending champion Alexander Zverev in his tournament opener and first match since withdrawing from the Rolex Paris Masters due to an abdominal injury.

The 33-year-old was adamant that the injury didn’t bother him against Zverev and he re-iterated he was feeling fine, especially on serve, against Medvedev.

“Today the serve worked well again. I think that the beginning of the third I was two breaks down, but I didn't play that bad. Just couple of points there, and he played well and I made a couple of mistakes,” Nadal said. “That's it. No, no, the serve I'm happy with.”

Nadal was also happy with his progress and said the match play he got against Zverev served him in good stead for his clash with Medvedev.

“I have been better than the other day, of course. I have been playing a better level of tennis than the first day in general terms. Then winning this match is a combination of a lot of things: [being] lucky, some mistakes of Daniil, some good moments of myself at the end,” Nadal said. “Knowing that I was not able to practise the way that I would like before the tournament, be able to increase the level since two days ago to today like this is a very positive thing and I'm very happy with this. Winning or losing is another story.”


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ATP Finals: Nadal stages phenomenal comeback to win 'one out of 1000' match against Medvedev

In his own words, Rafael Nadal was ‘super lucky’ to produce a stunning comeback against Daniil Medvedev to keep his bid for a first ATP Finals title alive on Wednesday night.

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