(Update with Nadal’s triumph)
LONDON, Nov 19 (.) – Spain’s Rafael Nadal kept his hopes of winning the ATP Finals alive for the first time by beating defending champion Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Thursday.
The London Group’s last game was a direct elimination match, as both came off losing to Dominic Thiem and defeating Andrey Rublev earlier in the week.
But Nadal always looked better despite a lapse that allowed Tsitsipas to extend the match to a deciding set at the O2 Arena.
After a series of breaks early in the third set, the 34-year-old Nadal defined the match to reach the semifinals of the season-closing tournament for the first time in five years.
The Spaniard, second in the group behind Thiem, will face Russia’s Daniil Medvedev for a place in the final, who secured first place in the Tokyo Group.
“Overall it was a very positive match for me,” said Nadal, who despite winning 20 Grand Slam titles has only two finals in his previous nine ATP Finals appearances. “Excited to be in the semifinals.”
Earlier, Russian Andrey Rublev ended his debut ATP Finals campaign with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Thiem.
The 23-year-old made the most of a rather flat performance from Thiem, who had already sealed his place in the semi-finals.
The world number eight, who won five ATP titles this season, quickly went 4-0 and sealed the first set without a hitch.
Things were a bit more even in the second set, but the Russian won 7-5 to get the win.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman. Edited in Spanish by Javier Leira and Rodrigo Charme)