Rafael Nadal was confirmed as world number one at year end after a stunning two days at the O2 Arena in London as the ATP Finals roared into life.
With Rafael Nadal having saved a match point against Daniil Medvedev in his game to come back and win, preserving his chances at progressing to the semi-finals, that impetus was felt across the groups today as Roger Federer took revenge on Novak Djokovic for his Wimbledon final defeat and knocked the Serb out at the group stage in a genuine shock.
Nadal, under pressure yesterday to win and put the pressure on Djokovic, had to save a match point, but after doing so, came back in fine style against the Russian Medvedev, who has never got closer to beating the Spanish world number one, a player the inexperienced yet impressive Medvedev has yet to overcome in his fledgling career.
With Stefanos Tsitsipas winning against Alexander Zverev in a routine 6-3, 6-2 victory, the pressure on Nadal was immense, but the Spaniard came through the challenge, eventually progressing 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4). Tsitsipas, who is making his first appearance at the finals, is now, following the matches in Group Bjorn Borg, the only man who could win the $2.8 million on offer to anyone who can go through the intense battle of the ATP Finals to victory without losing a match.
Nadal, while assured of number one status, is not certain that he’ll make the semi-finals and will do battle on Friday to attempt to reach that stage. There are a number of permutations, but if Nadal wins against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev can’t overcome Daniil Medvedev, then the Spaniard will be through, though it’s likely he’ll face Dominic Thiem in the semis rather than Roger Federer.
Federer who ended a five-match losing run against Novak Djokovic in winning his group stage decider, took down the Serbian for the first time since the ATP Finals of four years ago, and in doing so, has reached the semi-final stage for the 16th time in 17th efforts. That, obviously, is a record.
Earlier, Matteo Berretini ruined Dominic Thiem’s chances of winning the $2.8 million for an undefeated winner, in what was a meaningless victory for the Italian in terms of qualification for the semi-finals. His 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory may have denied the Austrian the shot and the top prize, but it wasn’t enough for progress after Berrettini lost his first two group stage matches.
Latest tournament winner odds:
Roger Federer – 6/4
Dominic Thiem 11/4
Stefanos Tsitsipas 4/1 – our tip
Rafael Nadal – 11/2
Alexander Zverev – 12/1
Daniil Medvedev – 22/1