Rafael Nadal is still in the running…
The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star has advanced to the semifinals at the ATP Finals for the first time in five years after knocking out the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 Thursday at the O2 Arena.
It is the sixth time in 10 appearances that Nadal has reached the semifinals of the season-ending tournament, which is the biggest title he has yet to win in his illustrious career.
Tsitsipas won it on his first try last year, but exited after a second loss of the group stage, done in by a shaky serve in the third set, during which he was broken three times.
Nadal never looked threatened on his serve against Tsitsipas until the final game of the second set, when he double-faulted to hand the Greek player a way back into the match.
“I think I was winning my serves quite comfortably until that moment,” Nadal said. “After that, everything changed.”
Suddenly, neither player could hold serve as the third set started with three straight breaks, with Nadal taking a 2-1 lead. The Spaniard finally held and broke again for a 5-2 lead before clinching the win on his second match point.
Nadal, who improved to 6-1 against Tsitsipas, will play Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals on Saturday.