Taylor Fritz surprised Rafael Nadal 7-6(3) 6-1 to make a profitable debut on the ATP Finals in Turin whereas Norway’s Casper Ruud kick-started the round-robin stage earlier on Sunday with a win over Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Spanish high seed Nadal arrived in Italy having solely competed in a single singles match since his fourth-round U.S. Open loss two months in the past and his lack of latest competitors confirmed as he was unable to maintain tempo with Fritz because the match wore on.
“I would like extra matches to play at this sort of stage, even when I’m working towards nicely, a lot better than how I’m competing, indubitably. That’s regular,” Nadal advised reporters.
“On the finish just isn’t the perfect event and possibly a part of the season to return again after a few months with out being on the tour since you don’t have time to get confidence.”
Taylor ON TOP 🔥
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 13, 2022
Nadal grabbed a 6-5 lead within the opening set when he held to like for the fifth time however then misplaced the opening three factors of the tiebreaker and couldn’t discover his means again.
After neither participant dropped serve within the first set, Fritz broke early within the second for a 3-1 lead and once more to drag forward 5-1 earlier than closing out the match on his subsequent service recreation when Nadal despatched a forehand lengthy.
“As soon as I acquired by that first set I simply wished to do the identical factor I used to be doing for the second set: deal with my serve and simply look to capitalise on the break factors once I acquired them,” Fritz mentioned in his on-court interview.
“I knew popping out right here this was going to be a giant match if I wish to make it out of the group, it’s a very necessary one.”
For Fritz, the victory marked his first over a top-three opponent in 12 makes an attempt and improved him to 2-2 in head-to-head conferences with Nadal having crushed him at Indian Wells in March.
Canadian Auger-Aliassime has been in elegant type on the finish of the season, profitable three tournaments in a row earlier than a semi-final run on the Paris Masters, however was not at his finest whereas falling 7-6(4) 6-4 to Ruud.
Though he fired 26 winners previous world quantity 4 Ruud, they have been offset by 26 unforced errors because the Norwegian wrapped up the victory to get on the board within the Inexperienced Group, which additionally has Nadal and Fritz.
“I believe that is a number of the finest stage that I’ve performed because the U.S. Open,” mentioned Ruud, who reached the ultimate of the yr’s final Grand Slam in New York.
“The final couple of months have been a little bit little bit of a battle, I’ve to actually say that, however you must settle for it as nicely. You’ll face tough moments in your profession, and perhaps these final couple of months was a type of.”
Auger-Aliassime had received 16 matches in a row to win titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel final month.
However Ruud, a semi-finalist final yr, stamped his authority within the tiebreak and didn’t face a single break level within the match as he beat the Canadian for the second time this yr.