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Nadal vs Tsitsipas Nitto ATP Finals Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Nadal aims to keep semi-final hopes alive with victory over Tsitsipas

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 15 Nov 2019
  • Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas is live from London on Friday, 15 November from 2:00pm local time/ 2:00pm GMT
  • Nadal leads the head-to-head 4-1
Rafael Nadal (PA Sport)

After his sensational fightback against Daniil Medvedev, world No. 1, Rafael Nadal goes in search of a semi-final spot at the Nitto ATP Finals when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in his final group match on Friday.

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Nadal's hopes of making the semi-finals in London appeared to be in serious jeopardy when he trailed 1-5 against Medvedev in the final set of his second group match on Wednesday, but the great Spaniard launched a stirring fightback to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Indeed, given Tsitsipas' victory over Alexander Zverev later in the day, Nadal would have been eliminated had he lost to Medvedev. 

Instead, the Spaniard is still very much alive, but there is still plenty of work (and hoping) to be done if he is to make the semi-finals in London. The Spaniard must beat Tsitsipas to have a chance of making the last four, while he must also hope that Alexander Zverev does not defeat Daniil Medvedev in the latter match of the day. If Zverev wins, regardless of when Nadal wins his match or not, the German will move on to the last four along with Tsitsipas.

Nadal at least does not have to worry about finishing the year as the world No. 1, having already secured the year-end top-ranking following Novak Djokovic’s exit from the Nitto ATP Finals on Thursday. That should perhaps free him up a little bit more as he seeks further progress in London.

The left-hander entered the Nitto ATP Finals with concerns over his fitness, having withdrawn from the Paris Masters just before his scheduled semi-final against Denis Shapovalov, and he looked well below par in his opening match against Zverev, losing 6-2 6-4 to the German. Zverev played one of his best matches of the season, and appeared unplayable at times, but Nadal was also short of his best, hitting 19 unforced errors as against just 12 winners. Despite his obvious struggles, the 33-year-old declared after the match that he did have any physical problems, and that he had fully recovered from the abdominal injury that forced him to quit his Paris Masters campaign.

Nadal played at a much better level against Medvedev in his second group match, but he came out on the wrong end of a tight opening set tie break. The French and US Open champion responded with a strong second set, pushing the match into a decider. 

However, he could not sustain that momentum as Medvedev who charged out of the blocks in the final set, building a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead. The Russian held a match point with Nadal serving at 1-5, but the world No. 1 stayed alive with an aggressive, well-constructed point, finishing off with a fine drop shot winner. The contest took an incredible turn after that.

Medvedev's level dropped significantly, and Nadal, sensing a monumental comeback, upped the ante again. The 19-time Grand Slam champion won the next five games to take a 6-5 lead, and while Medvedev escaped from 0-30 to hold for 6-6, Nadal finished him off in the tie break to complete one of the most remarkable victories in his storied career- a "one out of 1000" victory, as the Spaniard put it.

While he was obviously happy with the result, Nadal was also pleased with the improvements he made from his previous match against Zverev, and crucially, he says he isn't feeling any physical problems. 

“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. That's it. No, no, the serve I'm happy with,” 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.”

Nadal is looking to reach the last four at the year-end Finals for the sixth time, with his previous best results being runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2013. Should he go on to win the tournament, he would take his 2019 title tally to five, matching Djokovic and Thiem in that regard. The world No. 1 took his Grand Slam tally to 19 with titles at Roland Garros and the US Open this season, while he also added Masters 1000 triumphs in Rome and Montreal. He has reached at least the semi-finals in 11 of the 12 tournaments he's played this year- can he add another one to the list in London on Friday?


Tsitsipas is putting together a terrific debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, beating Daniil Medvedev and defending champion, Alexander Zverev in straight sets to move into the last four with one match to spare.

He edged a tight contest against Medvedev, stepping up at the critical stages of the match to score a 7-6 6-4 victory- his first over the Russian in six attempts- but he was a lot more emphatic against Zverev, dominating with his attacking brand of tennis to claim a fourth consecutive victory over his German rival.

The opening exchanges were very tight, with Zverev, buoyed by his excellent win over Nadal, edging the early phase of the contest. Tsitsipas saved a break point to hold for 3-2, but he was more clinical when he got his chance, catching Zverev out with a low return to break for the 5-3 lead. That formed part of a five-game run that saw him open up a 6-3 2-0 lead, and he didn't look back from there, breaking again for 4-1, before closing out a 6-3 6-2 victory in just an hour and 14 minutes.

The Greek was again solid behind his serve, winning 86% of points on his first serve, and saving the lone break point he faced. He struck 23 winners and just 11 unforced errors.

“I believe I had a good performance today, which is very satisfying to know, that [there were] no signs of any nerves [and that I was] feeling pretty good on the court,” Tsitsipas said. “It was a good performance. It's really good to know that I'll be playing in the semi-finals, but I've got to concentrate, keep going the way I have been doing things the past couple of days.” 
“I always find an extra motivation, an extra reason to play well against the top guys. I consider Sascha also being of this part of this elite group”.

The 21-year-old improves to 52-24 in an outstanding season, during which he's already claimed titles in Marseille and Estoril, and reached finals in Dubai, Madrid and Beijing. His stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open remains one of the major highlights of his year, while he contested other semi-finals in Rome, Shanghai, Washington and Basel.

Tsitsipas is compiling a very strong finish to the year, and will definitely be in the Nitto ATP Finals semis, making it four semi-finals in his last five tournaments. He is determined to keep the momentum going as he takes on Rafael Nadal on Friday. 

“I’m going to give it my all. I'm going to try to give my soul, and I think it's also a very good challenge for me in order to prepare for more difficult matches in the semi-finals and the finals, potentially,” Tsitsipas said. “So this match is going to give me a lot. It's going to educate me, and I'm going to try to get and absorb as much as I can from that.”

This will be their fourth meeting this year, with Nadal winning two of their three previous encounters in 2019, and having a 4-1 advantage in their overall head-to-head. 

Tsitsipas is definitely playing the better tennis at the moment, and is an extremely dangerous player when he's in this confident, aggressive mood. He's going to take the game to Nadal, and if he executes as well as he can, it's going to be a difficult day for the world No. 1, who's form has been dodgy all week.

“He’s a great player, a lot of energy, very young and he’s having an amazing season. So it will be a very tough one,” Nadal said. “I know I need to win that one. I hope to be ready for it, let’s try to make that happen.”

Based on form, Tsitsipas should win this, but Nadal can never be counted out, like the great man once again reminded everyone with his win over Medvedev. 

Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas is live from London on Friday, 15 November from 2:00pm local time/ 2:00pm GMT


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Nadal vs Tsitsipas Nitto ATP Finals Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Nadal aims to keep semi-final hopes alive with victory over Tsitsipas

Rafael Nadal will attempt to keep his London semi-final hopes alive when he faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in his final group match. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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