There is likely to be at least one surprise departure in the group stages with Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev seeking to avoid going 0-2 on Wednesday at the ATP Finals. Both lost their first match with Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas now in prime position to advance.
Nadal had previously dominated the head to head with Zverev but suffered his first loss to the German earlier in the week, falling to a surprisingly one sided 6-2 6-4 loss. There are no suggestions of injury with Nadal purely believing his performance was not good enough on this occasion. “No complaint about the physical condition. No pain in abdominal. That’s the only positive thing, honestly. That’s all. Happy the way that [the] abdominal [felt], and hopefully I can continue like this, because it’s true that I was not able to create a lot of practice and a lot of effort on that part of the body since last Saturday,” Nadal said. “The physical issue was not an excuse at all. The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight.”
Medvedev also saw his dominant head to head against Stefanos Tsitsipas turned on it’s head as the Greek put in a strong performance, nullifying the strong return threat of the Russian. He won very few points on Tsitsipas’ first serve and also found it tough in longer rallies as the match drew on, a surprise given the notable endurance of Medvedev in recent months.
Despite his first match issues, Nadal is remaining confident. “I stay positive. I stay competitive, something that today I was not. That’s the thing that I am more disappointed [with], because knowing that I will not be at my 100 per cent in terms of feelings, in terms of movement, in terms of confidence or hitting the ball, I needed my best competitive spirit this afternoon, and I was not there in that way.” he said. If their US Open clash is anything to go by, this one could be a thriller. Medvedev almost pulled off a superb comeback and shows he can compete with the very best, even if his previous clash with Nadal in Canada was a 6-3 6-0 damp squib.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in three sets