Rafael Nadal’s dream at the Masters is over. The Balearic tennis player returns to say goodbye to the last appointment of the year and will not be able to aspire to his first master’s degree, after fall in a very fought semifinal with Daniil Medvedev (3-6, 7-6, 6-3), who knew how to overcome and knock down the great Spanish champion, who could not find his game in the key moments of the match. Medvedev, who had dominated Djokovic or Zverev with an iron fist, did the same with Nadal in a second and third set in which he was fresher and that is worth a date with Thiem in the final in London, while Nadal must continue waiting.
Rafa entered the game concentrated, knowing that At stake was much more than reaching the umpteenth end of his career. The possibility of arriving in the game for the Masters title was a privilege that the Manacoran had not agreed to since 2013, where he was defeated by Djokovic, and the 34 years of his DNI push him to the thought that he will not have options, a priori , in the remainder of his sports career.
The start had to be of a high level before a tennis player who works at full capacity from the first ball, in the case of Medvedev, and Rafa fulfilled the task, although with difficulties. A marathon game in the third game, with service in favor, was about to cost him the first disadvantage of the match but, three break balls and several advantages later, the Spaniard managed to keep the score going as usual.
Medvedev is one of those tennis players with moments of inspiration in which they reach a stratospheric level, but he also has lows that cause a disconnect in his game. Nadal, who had waited for his moment, came out of the cave in the eighth game to take advantage of a brief pájara of his rival … that was going to cost him the set. Without extreme brilliance but with enough solidity, Rafa signed up for the set and was only one away from the final in London.
Medvedev rises after the fall
Cold as an iceberg, Medvedev was not going to blame the loss of 50% of the match in the blink of an eye. Also in a hurry, The Russian broke Nadal’s serve from the beginning until he was placed without stopping in a 4-1 that left him in an advantageous position to equalize the contest, something that was going to increase with a break ball in the next game, with Rafa’s service.
However, the epic reaction of the Balearic Islands was to take place at the O2 Arena. With nothing to lose -on set-, Rafa started by maintaining his serve and continued with a strategy in which Medvedev would begin to enter the network, add errors … and see how his service flew so that, immediately afterwards, Nadal equalized the score.
Daniil’s victory in the second was not only not certain, but his elimination was just one step away, as Rafa again broke, placing himself on serve to close the pass to the final. Party seen for sentence? Not with Medvedev on track. The Russian, heterodox in all respects, took his best tennis on the wire and, in white, consummated the counterbreak that was going to lead, indirectly, the decision of the set to the tie break.
The physical and mental decline began to take its toll and sudden death was going to uncover the shame until the contest was ended or it extended one more set. Nadal, still with the two ties yielded with Thiem in the memorya, he would lose his serve once, making it impossible to regain an advantage that was to be doubled on the decisive ball, which gave Medvedev the set.
Rafa turns off at the Masters
Surrealism had visited Rafa, who in the key ball of the tie-break had erred in the definition, allowing a Medvedev to reach that, with the cane, hooked a decisive balloon in the turn of the set. However, making a clean slate is the order of the day in Nadal’s libretto and the manacorense, visibly tired, He remained with options to break each game to the rest, although without success.
The key was going to be at 3-3, with Nadal’s service, in a new game with exaggerated duration and in which the Spanish got complicated after dominating 30-0. A couple of decision errors woke up Medvedev and allowed him to fight until he broke down, again after a couple of gifts from an extremely talented player, but who was beginning to notice the load of minutes.
Exhausted, trying to shorten the points from the serve and the net, Rafa could not reach his usual level of concentration, something absolutely necessary to even qualify for a break that would return him to the fight. Medvedev was flying from the bottom of the trackball after ball, trade after trade, until he became a full-fledged Masters Cup finalist.