ATP Finals Day 5 as it happened - Nadal defeats Tsitsipas to make semis
Day 5 at the 2020 ATP Finals saw Rafael Nadal beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to claim a spot in the semi finals. Dominic Thiem was beaten by Andrey Rublev in the afternoon session. Live updates by Paul Hassall.
GAME, SET AND MATCH! - NADAL 6-4 4-6 6-2 TSITSIPAS
The world number two books a spot in the semi finals for the first time since 2015 as he dumps the reigning champion out after a tense two hour and four minute encounter. He has to work for it, hitting back from 0-30 to serve it out on his second match point. He will now play Daniil Medvedev on Saturday.
Nadal passes Stef at the net as the serve volley becomes predictable. It poses a question at 15-30 and the errors leak off the youngsters racket from there. Nadal has the double break and will serve for the match and a place in the last four next.
NADAL 6-4 4-6 4-2 TSITSIPAS.
The Greek has the opening point on his racket after a super return, but fires a poor miss off the forehand. It’s as good as it gets as Rafa motors through the next three points to maintains his advantage.
NADAL 6-4 4-6 3-2 TSITSIPAS
Like London buses… Stef switches tactics to serve and volley, but doesn’t need to do too much at the net. Nadal can’t get the return in play to test him and he holds to 15.
NADAL 6-4 4-6 3-1 TSITSIPAS
It’s not looking good for Rafa as the first serve continues to go AWOL. He manages to hit back from 0-30 and then finally lands a couple of big first serves to consolidate. That took some doing, but we finally have another hold!
BREAK! – NADAL 6-4 4-6 2-1 TSITSIPAS
Incredible! Nadal produces a sublime backhand smash on the stretch and a defensive lob that forces a big error out of Tsitsipas from the baseline. The Spaniard loops that forehand into the corners as the world number six tries not to creak on triple break point, but he can’t hang tight and hooks a backhand wide to drop the game to love. That’s four breaks in a row after such fabulous serving early on in this contest.
BREAK! – NADAL 6-4 4-6 1-1 TSITSIPAS
It’s another break! Nadal can’t do the damage with the serve and Tsitsipas probes away. He puts the Spaniard under pressure at 30-30 and he can only lob long. The Greek dominates on break point and forces a weak backhand into the net from the No.2 seed. All square!
BREAK! – NADAL 6-4 4-6 1-0 TSITSIPAS.
A double fault ends Set 2 – and opens the decider. Nadal then powers a wonderful crosscourt pass beyond the Greek and asks an early question. Stef flashes a weak forehand into the net to tee up double break point and then compounds his own misery by dragging a crosscourt attempt wide. It’s a shocker from Tsitsipas and gives Nadal a big lift.
SET! - NADAL 6-4 4-6 TSITSIPAS
Out of nowhere we are all square and going to a decider! Nadal blinks on serve for the first time and Stef gets a foothold in the game. A wide volley tees up double set point and he converts on the second when the Spaniard double faults. Nadal has been in charge, but this is anyone's match now.
NADAL 6-4 4-5 TSITSIPAS
No look-in for Rafa this time. It’s a confident hold to love for the defending champion. He’s not looked like breaking all night, but if he can change it up in the next game and get some reward, he’ll take the set. Easier said than done, but there is some scoreboard pressure for Nadal to deal with.
NADAL 6-4 4-4 TSITSIPAS
All square. Nadal’s backhand slice has caught Stef out on a few occasions tonight and it does it again when the Greek thought he was in the game. The No.2 seed then slaps down two second serve aces to hold to love.
NADAL 6-4 3-4 TSITSIPAS
Rafa knocks on the door once more. A scruffy rally is just about won by Stefanos at 30-30 resulting a huge cry of delight from the Greek. Nadal then miscues a return and the world number six keeps his nose in front.
NADAL 6-4 3-3 TSITSIPAS
Wow. Rafa’s forehand is purring. He corks three winners off that flank before a service winner claim a hold to 15. The world number two’s serve has been tremendous up to this juncture.
NADAL 6-4 2-3 TSITSIPAS
Stefanos looks frustrated as Nadal draws level from 30-0 down, but he refuses to allow the Spaniard another look at the break and flashes a wonderful forehand winner up the line to nudge the board in his favour once more.
NADAL 6-4 2-2 TSITSIPAS
Nadal continues to look supreme on serve. He picks up a low drive on the half volley and steers it just inside the lien to clinch another love hold.
NADAL 6-4 1-2 TSITSIPAS
There have been a fair few gruelling service games Tsitsipas has endured so far, but that’s just what the doctor ordered. He crunches the forehand on the back of some excellent first serves and motors to a perfect hold.
Stefanos Tsitsipas lors de son match face à Andrey Rublev au Masters
Image credit: Getty Images
NADAL 6-4 1-1 TSITSIPAS
That’s quite awesome from Nadal. The forehand is tearing through the defending champion’s defences at will. The Mallorcan holds to love and looks like he’s enjoying the high stakes.
NADAL 6-4 0-1 TSITSIPAS
Nadal cranks up the heat from 30-0 down to make deuce with a clinical volley at the net. Tsitsipas struggles to make a dent in the Spaniard’s defence when they get into lengthy exchanges from the baseline and arrows a backhand long to hand him a break point. A sensational crosscourt backhand saves it for the Greek, who manages to hang on from there to get on the board.
SET! – NADAL 6-4 TSITSIPAS
Nadal kicks off with an exquisite stun volley but comes under some pressure. He wins an exhausting but brilliant rally at 15-15 and is unlucky when Stef’s backhand return hits the net and bobbles over. A pair of aces ease the nerves and the Spaniard deserves to take the opener in 41 minutes.
Rafael Nadal kämpft bei den ATP Finals um den Halbfinal-Einzug
Image credit: Getty Images
BREAK! – NADAL 5-4 TSITSIPAS
The reigning champion comes under the microscope again as the Rafa slice forces some errors off the Greek’s backhand. The No.2 seed doesn’t need to worry about his return this time though as Tsitsipas double fault on break point. Nadal will now serve for the set.
NADAL 4-4 TSITSIPAS
Whatever you can do… Nadal cannons down some hefty serves and breezes level once more. The points are flying by here. Both players showing lots of attacking intent, but the server has been so dominant.
NADAL 3-4 TSITSIPAS
Rafa goes full throttle on the attack and secures double break point with a crisp forehand winner. He has a good look at a second serve return but blows it way long. It proves to be the key moment as Tsitsipas finds some big serves to wriggle to safety from deuce.
NADAL 3-3 TSITSIPAS
Nadal unloads the forehand while Tsitsipas corks a sensational backhand down the line. The No.2 seed wins the rally of the match so far with an acute angled volley before a second ace seals another fine service game.
NADAL 2-3 TSITSIPAS
A half chance for Rafa. He hits back from 40-15 with a rasping crosscourt return but then cooks just long on the next point as he looked to up the ante.
NADAL 2-2 TSITSIPAS
A pair of magnificent backhand winners sear down the line and set up another solid hold for the Spaniard. He misses a few first serves, but Tsitsipas isn’t able to make enough of the rallies to apply any pressure.
NADAL 1-2 TSITSIPAS
That’s stunning work on the serve from Stefanos. He rattles through a trio of brutal deliveries and then clocks up his own love hold when Rafa inexplicably smashes into the net from close-in.
NADAL 1-1 TSITSIPAS
Nadal is looking razor sharp too. A stunning backhand lob is followed by a pair of crushing serves. Tsitsipas then slaps a forehand wide and it’s a love hold in the bag for the world number 2.
NADAL 0-1 TSITSIPAS
Lovely work off that crosscourt forehand from the Greek starlet puts him firmly in control before he concludes a hold to 15 with a delicious dropshot.
Tsitsipas wins the coin toss and elects to serve first. Cue the warm up.
Beware the wounded bull - can Tsitsipas outfight Rafa?
Tsitispas: “I know it will require a lot of physical effort, and I'm going to have to go through a lot of pain and suffering, so it is going to be difficult match. I'm expecting a fight from my side.”
Nadal: “I really, I don't want to pretend to be arrogant at all. Because I am not. But I really don't need to show even to myself or to no one that if I am playing my best tennis, I think I can win in every surface and against any player, no. It is true, I never won the Nitto ATP Finals. That's the real thing at the same time. So, no problem about that.”
Nadal owns the match-up 5-1. He won their most recent meeting - and their only previous one on indoor hard court - at this stage of last year’s ATP finals.
Image credit: Getty Images
Coming up - Nadal v Tsitsipas
It's win or bust time as the final round-robin clash in Group London 2020 sees world number two, Rafael Nadal take on reigning ATP finals champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas. Can the Greek pick up a rare win against the Spaniard and stay alive in his bid to lift back-to-back titles? Or will Nadal keep his own dream on track as he aims to claim a first ever end-of-season title at the 10th time of asking? Whoever triumphs will reach the last four. The loser will crash out.
GAME, SET AND MATCH! – THIEM 2-6 5-7 RUBLEV
The tournament debutant, Rublev signs off with a maiden win at the third time of asking. He cruises through the dead rubber and seals a straight sets triumph in one hour and 14 minutes. It’s been a super year for the world number eight and that was a good way to conclude it. Thiem was flat throughout and clearly not fired up given he had already qualified as group winner. His 300th career win will have to wait and he’ll hope it comes in Saturday’s semi finals.
Andrey Rublev of Russia reacts during his match against Dominic Thiem of Austria on Day 5 of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena on November 19, 2020 in London, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
BREAK! – THIEM 2-6 5-6 RUBLEV.
Thiem implodes from 40-0 up and it may well cost him the match. He coughs up two double faults, but manages to save three break points before finally succumbing on a fourth with a volley wide. Rublev will now serve for the match after what was the probably the best game of tennis in the contest.
THIEM 2-6 5-5 RUBLEV
That’s more like it. Rublev halts his lull with a quick-fire love hold.
THIEM 2-6 5-4 RUBLEV
Thiem seems to have decided he wants to raise it and get back on terms. He makes it eight points on the spin with a dominant service game. Pressure on Rublev to stay in a set he seemed on the verge of winning now.
BREAK! – THIEM 2-6 4-4 RUBLEV
Thiem slaps some tame errors off both wings into the net. Rublev seems to have it in the bag, but he’s getting tight. He sees a lead flitter away and dumps two very poor shots into the net to allow Thiem to break back.
THIEM 2-6 3-4 RUBLEV
The world number three stays in contention courtesy of some solid serving.
THIEM 2-6 2-4 RUBLEV
Too easy. Thiem looks as I he just wants to get this over with. Rublev holds to love inside 60 seconds.
THIEM 2-6 2-3 RUBLEV
Domi stays in touch with a much more routine service game. This is all about Rublev keeping his nerve now. Thiem isn't about to really crank it up a few gears unless the Russian starrts handing it to him.
Image credit: Getty Images
THIEM 2-6 1-3 RUBLEV
There’s a first glimmer of trouble on the Rublev serve. Thiem misses a big forehand to crank up the heat at 0-30 and from there Rublev regains his mojo. The worlds number eight backs up his break and is looking in very good shape.
BREAK! – THIEM 2-6 1-2 RUBLEV
Rublev’s appetite for this is humongous. Thiem leans on some big serves, but is pegged back to deuce from 40-15 up. The world number three then has to fend off a break point when Rublev corks a sumptuous backhand winner down the line. The Austrian saves it with an ace down the middle T and then outlasts a crosscourt backhand examination to stave off another. When a third comes along, he makes a positive move forward, but is undone when Rublev drills a forehand winner down the line on the run.
THIEM 2-6 1-1 RUBLEV
Ace number 7 ensures Rublev maintains his charge. Thiem claws back two points from 40-0 down but is undone by a lovely forehand-crisp volley combo.
THIEM 2-6 1-0 RUBLEV
Thiem isn’t happy with his level. He Looks to his team. Whatever they gesture, it seems to help a bit. He finds some big serves from 15-15 and gets Set 2 off to a much better start.
SET! – THIEM 2-6 RUBLEV
A super opener from Rublev as he easily serves it out on his second set point after just 25 minutes. Thiem has lacked any intensity.
THIEM 2-5 RUBLEV
Thiem doesn’t fancy the breadstick. He brushes aside another double fault to slap an ace down the middle T and pose the serve-out question.
THIEM 1-5 RUBLEV
Andrey is crushing some brutal serves out there. He slams down a succession of them to cruise through a love hold. He’s already one game away from the set.
THIEM 1-4 RUBLEV
Thiem finally decides to join the party. It’s taken 16 minutes, but he’s on the board with a simple hold.
THIEM 0-4 RUBLEV
It’s one-way traffic so far. Rublev backs up the double break, finishing off a hold to 15 with a wide ace.
Image credit: Getty Images
BREAK! – THIEM 0-3 RUBLEV
This is splendid stuff from Rublev – but pretty awful from Thiem. The Austrian looks very flat. He coughs up a double fault to gift the world number eight a shot at the double break and he doesn’t disappoint. Thiem darts to the net and Rublev coolly drifts a pass way beyond him.
THIEM 0-2 RUBLEV
Rublev makes a hash of foray to the net, but the rest of his game is looking sharp. He consolidates with ease. Thiem is yet to get going here.
BREAK! – THIEM 0-1 RUBLEV.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the context of this match affects the players. Thiem knows he doesn’t really need the win, while Rublev has nothing to lose and can play with more freedom. He’s looked a bit tight so far this week – but not today. He corks a forehand winner and then earns two break points as Thiem fizzes just long. The Austrian saves one but can’t deny the Russian on his second. Great start.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thiem is bidding for a landmark 300th career victory this afternoon. His maiden success came against countryman and former World No. 1 Thomas Muster 6-2 6-3 at the 2011 Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
A Murray update
Some off court news relevant to GB from earlier.
Views from the baseline
Thiem: “Honestly, I think that today I played a little bit higher level than at the US Open and this was maybe the best match for me since the restart of the Tour.”
Rublev: “Against Dominic you need to have really strong mental (strength) and then you have to play an amazing match.”
Thiem 'I was lucky'. Rafa 'He was amazing' - Players react after ATP Finals showdown
Thiem v Rublev: the head-to-head
This is their fifth meeting with the previous encounters split at two apiece. Rublev has won the last two, including a victory on the indoor hard courts of Vienna last month. Thiem won their other meeting on this surface at the same event in Austria back in 2017.
Win or bust - Nadal v Tsitsipas later
Rafael Nadal is in action against reigning champion in the evening match in Group London 2020. It's a straight shoot-out for a spot in the last four. Will tennis' ultimate fighter prevail again? Or will Tsitsipas once again show a growing maturity to go with the talent that sees him being tipped as a future world number one?
Time for tennis
Hello and welcome to LIVE updates of the first singles match of Day 5 at the 2020 ATP Tour finals. Dominic Thiem has already qualified for the semi finals but will be hoping to maintain his 100 per cent record and overall momentum against Andrey Rublev, who is out of the tournament after losing his first two matches.
Dominic Thiem & Andrey Rublev
Image credit: Getty Images
DAY FOUR RECAP
Daniil Medvedev qualified for the last four of the ATP Finals after a surprisingly comfortable straight-sets win over Novak Djokovic.
After sharing the opening six games of the match, Medvedev soared clear, helped by a number of Djokovic errors, to breeze through 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 22 minutes.
The result ensures the Russian will qualify from Group Tokyo 1970 while Djokovic’s fate will depend on his final group match against Alexander Zverev. Diego Schwartzman is eliminated from the tournament.
"I'm sure he didn't play his best but it happens to everybody," said Medvedev. "I always say the 'Big Three' are champions because it happens to them less than everyone else. I'm feeling confident. I knew I had to take my chances and it was a great match for me."
Tennis Legends: Why hasn't Rafael Nadal won the ATP Finals?
Alexander Zverev kept his hopes of reaching the ATP Finals last four alive with a tricky three-set victory over Diego Schwartzman in London.
After losing his Group Tokyo 1970 opener to Daniil Medvedev at The O2 Arena, Zverev bounced back to record a 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over Schwartzman, whose hopes of reaching the semi-finals are over.
ATP Finals - Thursday order of play
Dominic Thiem v Andrey Rublev – 2pm
Rafael Nadal v Stefanos Tsitsipas – 8pm
Who is playing?
The eight singles players competing at this year’s ATP Finals will be Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman.
This year qualification is based on the ATP rankings (excluding points gained at last year’s ATP Finals) rather than a ‘Race to London’ ranking due to the disrupted season.
What’s the schedule?
The tournament at London's O2 Arena runs from November 15 to November 22.
There will be two singles matches played every day before the semi-finals on Saturday, November 21 and the final on Sunday, November 22.
What are the groups?
Group Tokyo 1970
Group London 2020
What’s the format?
The eight singles players are divided into two four-player groups, with each player facing their three group rivals and the top two from each group advancing to the semi-finals. Standings are determined by number of wins and if players are tied then it is decided on by their head-to-head record.
Rublev, who has won five titles in 2020, and Schwartzman, will be competing at the finals for the first time. There will be four players aged 24 and under for the second straight year.