Rafael Nadal books place in ATP Finals semis by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas
Rafael Nadal will face Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals after battling to a three-set victory over defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.
It was a winner-takes-all clash after both men lost to Dominic Thiem, but Nadal was upbeat about his level following his narrow defeat to the Austrian on Tuesday and showed here that optimism was justified with a 6-4 4-6 6-2 victory.
Nadal served superbly up until an untimely double fault saw Tsitsipas pinch the second set but the Spaniard, who has never won this title, responded well to reach the knockout stages for the sixth time overall and first since 2015.
Tsitsipas’ record against Nadal now stands at 1-6, with his only victory coming, somewhat unexpectedly, on clay in Madrid last spring.
This was the second year in a row that Nadal and Tsitsipas faced off in the final group match, with the world number two winning on that occasion but missing out on the last four to the Greek and Alexander Zverev.
Here the equation was much simpler, but the Greek soon found himself under pressure. Nadal failed to capitalise on two break points at 3-3, but Tsitsipas double-faulted on another opening two games later.
Nadal finished off the set with successive aces and, considering he was on a 70-match winning streak when taking the first set, it was clear what an uphill task this was for Tsitsipas.
The 22-year-old did a much better job of dominating on his own serve in the second set but got nowhere near Nadal’s until the Spaniard served to stay in the set at 4-5.
Some inspired play from Tsitsipas created two set points and, having played a fine point to save the first, Nadal double-faulted on the second.
Tsitsipas’ momentum did not last long, though, Nadal getting the better of three successive breaks to start the deciding set and pulling away to clinch victory.
Medvedev is already assured of topping the Tokyo 1970 group after victories over Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic.
Andy Murray confident ‘unbelievably bright’ Emma Raducanu will deal with her ‘little bump’ in a mature way
Andy Murray has his say on Emma Raducanu’s hiccup in Indian Wells.
Cameron Norrie holds off Roberto Bautista Agut in Indian Wells to reach last 16 of Masters event for first time
British No 2 will next meet American Tommy Paul.
Novak Djokovic and co urged to get vaccinated if they want to compete at the Australian Open
“If I was an ATP or WTA player, I’d be getting vaccinated.”
Top seed Karolina Pliskova, defending champ Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff all crash out
Three big names taste defeat in Indian Wells.
‘I can’t wait to go and play in the championship,’ says Emma Raducanu after signing up for lucrative event
Emma Raducanu off to Abu Dhabi just before Christmas.
Andy Murray ahead of Alexander Zverev clash in Indian Wells: ‘I wouldn’t say we are best friends’
Alexander Zverev unlikely to be on Andy Murray’s Christmas card list.
Dan Evans fails to take his chances as his run at Indian Wells comes to an end
Evans had a glimpse of a place in the last 16, but he failed to take his chances.
Andy Murray’s big hint that he might stay in tennis after he hangs up his rackets
Murray has given a big hint that he may be tempted to continue a career in tennis.
Leylah Fernandez turns on the style with thrilling comeback win at Indian Wells
Leylah Fernandez came from behind to beat ninth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Alexander Zverev looks ahead to his blockbuster with Andy Murray as he seals ATP Finals spot
Alexander Zverev overcame American Jenson Brooksby in three sets.