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Nadal is still alive in London after coming back against Medvedev

Nadal is still alive in London after coming back against Medvedev

When he faced a match ball with a 5-1 adverse in the third set, Rafael Nadal calculated that his chances of beating Daniil Medvedev in the ATP Masters Cup had been reduced to “one in a thousand”.

The world number one did not shrink from the abyss in the season-ending tournament.

Nadal lifted that match point with a short ball that he executed to perfection and proceeded to come back to beat Medvedev 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Wednesday, staying alive in the tournament. .

“Today has been one of those days in which you have a game that you win one in a thousand times,” said the Spaniard. “At that moment (the match point against), the only thing you think is that in five minutes he will be in the locker room, because that is normal. At that moment, they play without much pressure, because you are practically defeated ”.

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Nadal looked set for a second Masters Cup loss but won five games in a row to lead 6-5 in the deciding set. In the tiebreaker, Medvedev blew a routine forehand for Nadal to set up a match ball and the Russian proceeded to send out a backhand. That shot was ruled good in principle, but the Hawk-Eye reversed it after an appeal from Nadal.

The victory left Nadal 1-1 after two group stage games, while Medvedev was 0-2. Stefanos Tsitsipas later faced reigning champion Alexander Zverev, both seeking a second win.

In the reissue of the US Open final that they played in early September, Nadal offered a better version of the match he lost to Zverev when he debuted in London and broke Medvedev’s serve twice in the second set.

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But the Russian went 4-0 up front in the third and had two additional break points in the next game. However, Nadal was able to sustain his serve and lifted the match point 30-40 in the next game with his serve, hitting a backhand drop shot at the net.

Medvedev began to make multiple mistakes against a Nadal who played with nothing to lose, risking for winners all over the court.

Nadal, who beat Medvedev in five sets in the US Open final, reached the Masters Cup in doubt due to the abdominal injury that forced him to withdraw ahead of the Paris Masters semifinals this month. But he insists that he is physically well and that he is gradually recovering his best level.

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“I’ve played better than I did on the first day,” Nadal said. “Winning this match has been a combination of many things: luck, some mistakes from Daniil and some moments of mine at the end.”

The triumph strengthens Nadal’s determination to close the year as number one in the ranking, since Novak Djokovic will have no alternative but to win the tournament in order to pass it. Djokovic must first beat Roger Federer on Thursday to reach the semi-finals. AP

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