Nadal and Djokovic were denied the semi-final berth at the year end ATP Finals in London. Nadal’s prospects were shot down by the outcome of the Zverev versus Medvedev match, whereas, Djokovic just didn’t make the cut.
Nadal ‘s gusty performances against Tsitsipas and Medvedev went unrewarded.
Rafa Nadal staged a sensational comeback from 1-5 and a match point down in the third, against Medvedev on Wednesday. He followed that up with another exciting recovery from a set down against Tsitsipas, on Friday. None of those gusty performances mattered because of Alexander Zverev’s 6-6, 7-6 (4) dominance of Medvedev.
Rafa returns to Mallorca a happy camper and with the best tennis player’s trophy in hand.
Nadal and Djokovic were both denied, but Nadal was mostly unlucky.
Rafa seemed more mentally prepared – than Djokovic – for extended battles on the fast hard surface in the O2 arena. He, true to his nature, gave his very best in all, and came back from a set down in two, of his matches. Like Tsitsipas and Zverev, he too won – two of the three – round-robin matches, but was mostly unlucky to not make the semis.
Retrievers on the faster versus slower surfaces.
On the fast indoor courts, the retrievers must move even faster to set up for the winning shot. It is easier to reach balls, and set up for the shots on the slower surfaces. The pressure to produce something extraordinary is on the aggressive player, on the slower surfaces. The faster surfaces, however; require the retrievers to amp up the leg speed and find their spots from, mostly, defensive positions. And, Nadal, because of his extended back-swing, is even more disadvantaged than Djokovic on the faster surfaces.
The semi-finals, on Friday, are set between Fedrerer and Tsitsipas, and Thiem and Zverev.
Dominic Thiem dispatched both Roger and Novak, and Zverev scored his first career win over Nadal in the group stages. Thiem, therefore, appears more in form, and also enjoys a 5-2 winning record against Zverev. We, however, believe that Zverev’s serve would decide the outcome of the match. This should be a closely contested semi-final, with many baseline exchanges.
Tsitsipas is playing great, and has as good a chance as Roger to make the finals. Roger, however; should prevail, if he serves as well as he served against Djokovic. Tsitsipas will need to play even better than he played against Zverev. Both play an aggressive brand of all court tennis, and we expect a close encounter – of the shot-making kind.