ATP Finals 2020: Rafael Nadal begins his quest with convincing victory

ATP Finals 2020: Rafael Nadal begins his quest with convincing victory

Dominic Thiem produced a stunning performance to defeat Rafael Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

Nadal's nerves were to the fore once more serving at 4-5 as a poor volley and rare fluffed smash gave Thiem three match points, but the second seed saved them all, the second when a drop volley kissed the top of the net and landed for a victor.

"I'm going to try to be ready for it", said Nadal "It's going to be a big challenge, but I really hope the victory of today could help me for that match".

"Today was a little bit different", Thiem said comparing this year to last year.

In the opening match, Austria's Thiem missed a clutch of break points against Tsitsipas, but battled back from 4-1 down in the first-set tiebreak to take the lead. I have a match against Tsitsipas in two days.

Thiem had three match points at 5-4 after a series of Nadal errors, but the Spaniard recovered his focus to save all three, his escapology even drawing rueful applause from Thiem.

The 27-year-old has already enjoyed a year to remember, reaching two Grand Slam finals and winning one of the four majors for the first time when he defeated Alexander Zverev in the US Open final in September.

Rublev, who has won an ATP Tour-leading five titles this season, was broken again in the first game of the second set, leaving him with a mountain to climb.

Novak Djokovic has come out as a firm advocate for best-of-three matches across the board in ATP tennis.

An early break in the second set was all he needed, with the 34-year-old securing a straight-sets win at the O2 for the first time since beating Andy Murray in the group stages in 2015.

"He dealt with my serve better and took time to step back and apply more pressure to me", Tsitsipas said.

World number two Rafael Nadal advanced into the second round of the ATP Finals by dispatching Russia's Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 18 minutes.

"It's important to start well for the confidence because winning in straight sets helps".

Joe Salisbury, the sole British representative in this year's tournament, began his campaign alongside American Rajeev Ram in the doubles with a narrow victory over Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. "I played solid with my serve". I didn't suffer much with my serve. "I was not serving good at all because I was a little bit nervous, which is normal", Rublev said, per the Nitto ATP Finals website.

On Monday, Novak Djokovic opens his quest for a sixth ATP Finals crown.

The defending champion broke early in the second set to level the match and appeared to have the momentum but Thiem rallied impressively, earning a break with a delicately dinked forehand in the second game of the decider, which proved decisive.

Now Nadal has to do it the hard way if he is to land the biggest prize missing from his trophy cabinet after losing the 2010 and 2013 finals at the prestigious season-ending event. Medvedev went 0-3 in this event a year ago.

"The world is suffering so we are very lucky to be playing tennis".

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