fbpx
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
No menu items!

‘I played a bad game’, says Nadal after losing to Medvedev

Rafa Nadal’s dream of a first ATP Finals title and Novak Djokovic’s quest for a record-equalling sixth vanished in defeats by Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem respectively in two seismic semi-finals on Saturday (November 21).

As the curtain comes down on London’s 12 years as host of the ATP Tour’s prestigious season-ender, it would have been fitting for Nadal and Djokovic to face off for the 57th time in their glittering careers.

But times are a-changing, or so it seems, and Medvedev and Thiem had not read the script.

Nadal, seeking the one major pot missing from his vast collection of silverware, must have seen the door creaking open when Thiem produced a staggering fightback to beat Djokovic 7-5 6-7(10) 7-6(5) in a classic contest lasting almost three hours.

He had beaten Medvedev in each of their three meetings, including a memorable U.S. Open final last year.

It seemed like he had exhausted the wily Russian’s box of tricks when he served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Medvedev, 10 years his junior at 24, stormed back to win 3-6 7-6(4) 6-3.

Whatever happens on Sunday (November 22) it will mean a fifth consecutive first-time winner of the tournament.

To put world number four Medvedev’s win into perspective, Nadal had triumphed in the last 71 matches in which he had taken the first set.

“I played a bad game at 5-4, I had a big opportunity, but well played to him,” Nadal said.

Earlier in the empty arena, the 27-year-old Thiem saw four match points vanish in the second set tiebreak against Djokovic, one with a nervy double-fault, and it seemed he would pay a heavy price.

Djokovic, who is one short of Roger Federer’s titles record at the ATP Finals, led 4-0 in the deciding set tiebreak.

But U.S. Open champion Thiem unleashed a stunning counter-attack to reel off six points, reaching match point with a ripping crosscourt backhand.

Djokovic saved a fifth match point but then floated a defensive forehand long.

“What he did from 0-4 in the tiebreak was just unreal,” Djokovic, who won the title in London from 2012-15, told reporters. “He just crashed the ball and everything went in. What can you do?”

The defeats mean that Nadal and Djokovic’s 2020 seasons are complete and they are now hoping that the Australian Open will be able to take place in Melbourne which is due to start on January 18. However, current government restrictions mean that players would not be able to arrive in Australia until the beginning of January and would then have to observe a two-week quarantine period, leaving almost no time to prepare for the start of the tournament.

“We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing that is difficult for everyone,” said Nadal.

(Production: Mike Brock)

Advertisement

Latest News

Suspect wanted in the deadly shooting of Houston teen

HOUSTON - Video footage has been released revealing the suspects wanted in connection to a deadly shooting in...

Blinken says U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ about Navalny, willing to work with China on climate

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday (January 27) that the United States is "deeply concerned" about detained Kremlin critic Alexei...

Molotov cocktails spark fire at Harris County motel

HOUSTON - A fire was reported inside a motel room after an arsonist set multiple rooms on fire in a molotov...

Accidental shooting leaves man dead in Harris County

HARRIS COUNTY - Deputies are investigating a fatal shooting incident in Northwest Harris County.  The shooting happened...

An investigation into Fatal Shooting at 700 Fidelity Street

HOUSTON — Houston police are investigating the fatal shooting of a man at 700 Fidelity Street at about 8:25 p.m. on...

More Articles Like This