Mon. Dec 5th, 2022
TURIN: Rafael Nadal may be going home but he avoided matching his worst losing streak ever with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Norway. Casper Ruud also ATP Finals Thursday.
Consecutive losses in the Green Group Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger – Aliassime It meant that the 22-time Grand Slam champion missed the semi-finals.
But the Spaniard was more than willing not to end a season that had started so brilliantly by losing to his fifth consecutive defeat – something the 36-year-old had not experienced since his career began in 2004-05.
While world number four Ruud was certain to make it to the semi-finals, the match was actually a dead tire.
However, the first set was packed inside Pala Alpitour, where the afternoon crowd was firmly behind Nadal.
Nadal struggled in a few 4-4 breakouts in the opening set as Ruud threatened, but found range on the Mallorcan forehand after that.
Ruud, 23, was behind 0-40 on serve in 5-6 and world number two Nadal just needed one chance to seal the set and volleyed onto an empty court.
There was a similar story in the second set, with nothing between the players until Nadal jumped again in game 12.
Ruud saved one game point, but Nadal later finished his season on top by knocking out a backstroke winner with a stick.
“I’ve been training well, but I didn’t have enough games to be at the level I needed to be, I didn’t have enough confidence after six tough months,” Nadal said on the pitch.
“At least I finished with a positive victory that matters.”
Ruud will advance to the semi-finals but now 0-8 against top three opponents.
Auger-Aliassime and Fritz, who made their debut on Thursday, will face off for the semi-finals.