Published: Sun, November 17, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Nadal: It means a lot to equal Federer, Djokovic

Nadal: It means a lot to equal Federer, Djokovic

Spaniard Nadal had earlier beaten group victor Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4) 6-4 7-5 in a near three-hour battle to keep his hopes alive but needed Medvedev to do him a favor by beating Zverev.

"Definitely it's that next step they need", Federer said.

Federer is [1.38] to get the win, which I think is a few ticks too big but nothing untoward. This match pits the youngest competitor in the tournament against the oldest, and while the Greek has arguably played the best tennis of all the players this week, Federer's greater experience is likely to play the difference.

He double-faulted at 3-4 in the tiebreak to give Zverev a two-point lead and Zverev finished it off with an ace.

"I've got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year, and then I will create some chances", he said.

With Tsitsipas already through, Zverev can join him at Nadal's expense.

That effort could cost him against Federer, who needed only 1 hour, 13 minutes to beat Novak Djokovic in his final group-stage match on Thursday and spent Friday resting up.

"It's OK, my body feels well now, " Tsitsipas said.

"I want to feel connected with people". I feel fresh, honestly.

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In the third and final set the world No 1 twice went close to breaking a resilient Tsitsipas before the Greek finally relented and was broken in the 11th game, giving Nadal a chance to serve out for the match.

And Nadal only improved, especially at the net where he was at his imperious best, and remarkably survived the entire match without facing a break point while unforced errors began to creep into his opponent's game.

Tsitsipas, who is making his first appearance at the event, saved all six break points he faced in the first set.

After the match, Nadal was presented with a trophy on court for having secured the year-end No. 1 ranking.

The three greats are alongside Jimmy Connors on that tally, while only Pete Sampras (six) has achieved it more often.

But there was doubt that 33-year-old deserved his place at the top of the standings after another stellar year.

However, he has never won the ATP Finals despite qualifying for a 15th year in a row.

"First of all it is a real honour to receive this trophy from you", Nadal said.

He reached the semi-finals at all four Grand Slams in a season for just the second time in his illustrious career. These head-to-head matches have been very serve-orientated, with both players holding in excess of 90% of the time, and I'd be surprised if today's encounter didn't follow a similar theme.

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