Nadal battles through pain barrier in his opening Group Pete Sampras match
By Raz Mirza at The O2
Last Updated: 13/11/17 11:11pm
Rafael Nadal lost in three sets to David Goffin at the ATP Finals
World No 1 Rafael Nadal suffered an agonising three-set defeat to David Goffin at the ATP Finals and now big question marks remain over the Spaniard’s right knee and his overall participation at the tournament.
Nadal admitted he was not training at 100 per cent following his withdrawal from the Paris Masters with a knee injury, and despite saving four match points, he was unable to play through the pain barrier and bravely went down 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes.
There were few surprises when he succumbed on serve in just the third game, but the Belgian, who came to the tournament as the seventh seed with two titles to his name – at Tokyo and Shenzhen – in a year which has seen him break into the top 10 for the first time in his career, failed to hold on to his advantage and was quickly reeled in by Nadal.
The Belgian got the better of his opponent after winning this wonderful rally before sealing the first set
Goffin punched his 12th winner of the match to break through for a 6-5 lead, but a double fault gifted an immediate break back and send the set into a tiebreak.
In a fluctuating breaker, it was 26-year-old Goffin who sealed it when his opponent meekly netted on his usually venomous forehand side.
Nadal demonstrated his own venomous forehand during the second set tiebreak
The second set was a tight affair until Goffin broke through in the eighth game, but he buckled again as nerves got the better of him.
With Nadal’s knee seemingly buckling, he somehow conjured up the adrenaline to quite incredibly save four match points en route to dragging it into another tiebreak, which he won comfortably to send us the distance.
But Nadal was unable to keep up the momentum as he limped around the court, despite putting up quite a fight, to go down bravely to an opening defeat of the round-robin format.
Shot of the match
Goffin won this rally with a lasso forehand up the line – a shot we’re usually accustomed to seeing Nadal produce
Goffin’s special moment
“It was a tough fight until the end,” said the world No 8. “Rafa is such a big fighter, but I’m so happy to find the key to win this match tonight – it was so special. I’m really happy. After losing four match points, I had no regrets, but I wanted to keep going. I just tried to enjoy every point. I will do my best in every match.”
I’m sure Rafa will wait around and see how he responds but I’m certain the book will say we’re going to see Pablo Carreno Busta on Wednesday
I think he’s definitely not going to play again. The question mark is over his body. I’m concerned because when Rafa steps on the court, he never gives up
Nadal is scheduled to meet Dominic Thiem on Wednesday
Nadal, who is aiming to claim a maiden title at the season-ending event, has a job on his hand to qualify for the semi-finals. He is scheduled to meet Dominic Thiem on Wednesday in a must-win clash now, while Goffin meets Gigor Dimitrov.
Nadal v Goffin: Match Stats
Match Stats Aces Double Faults 1st serve win percentage 2nd serve win percentage Break points Total winners Unforced errors Net points won Total points won
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