Nadal continues run of losses with ATP Finals defeat to Aliassime

Rafael Nadal suffered his fourth defeat in a row as Felix Auger-Aliassime downed the top seed 6-3 6-4 at the ATP Finals on Tuesday. This means that the world No. 2 could be eliminated from group stage tonight, depending on the outcome of the Green Group match between Taylor Fritz or Casper Ruud. It will also ruin his chances of winning the year-end No. 1 ranking.

After losing their opening matches in Green Group on Sunday, Nadal was looking to win his first ATP Finals victory. Auger-Aliassime was also seeking his first win. The contest was dominated by Nadal’s uncle Toni as Nadal sat in Auger-Aliassime’s camp against his nephew.

The fifth seed was off to a slow start. Auger-Aliassime faced two break points, but he managed to win the game. Auger-Aliassime did not lose another point until 3-3 when Nadal created two more break points. He continued his dominance on his first serve points and won 17 of 17.

The top seed was suddenly in trouble when he lost four consecutive points on his serve. He went from 40-0 to deuce and then threw in a few double faults to eventually lose the game. Auger-Aliassime won his first break of match and converted it immediately thanks to an error by the Nadal racket.

The ATP Finals debutant was allowed to serve and he won the set 6-3 after 53 minutes. He also won his first ever set at the tournament, while Nadal lost to the Spaniard in the fourth round. Nadal struggled into the second set, hitting eight unforced errors in his first three games and being broken by a set and 1-1.

He was forced to defend another break point before he finally won his first break point of set to level with Auger-Aliassime. However, he was unable capitalise and found himself two games away from defeat as the 22 year-old increased his lead to 4-2. Auger-Aliassime outplayed the 36-year old as he won a 6-3 6-4 victory. He also hit a record 32 winners on his way to his maiden ATP Finals win.

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This means Nadal is still in danger of losing his life in the Green Group. However, he could still have a chance to make the semi-finals if Taylor Fritz beats Casper Ruud straight sets in the second singles match. With a win in straight sets over Ruud and Fritz on Thursday, the Spaniard could make it to the semi-finals.

The top seed will be eliminated from the round-robin stage if Ruud wins, or the American wins three sets later today. This would leave Nadal unable to win either his maiden ATP Finals title nor the No 1 ranking at the end of the year. Nadal may already be out of contention on Thursday when he plays the Norwegian, but he will still try to win a victory to boost his confidence for the 2023 season. He has suffered four consecutive losses.


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