The Spaniard suffered his second ATP Finals loss on Tuesday
Rafael Nadal has been all but eliminated from contention at the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy after the Spaniard was beaten for the second time in a matter of days, this time in straight sets to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Nadal, who also lost to Taylor Fritz on Sunday, was beaten in two sets (6-3, 6-4) by Auger-Aliassime, and now needs to defeat Casper Ruud in straight sets in his final group match and hope that the other results swing in his favor if he is to progress in the tournament, in which eight of the world’s top players are competing against one another.
Nadal, a 22-time grand slam champion, has now lost four ATP Tour matches in succession for the first time since 2009. He started off as the stronger of the two players and looked set to break the Canadian’s serve on several occasions early in the match.
Felix Auger-Aliassime wins his first ever match at the ATP Finals, beating Rafa Nadal for the first time, 6-3, 6-4 to keep his SFs hopes well alive.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) November 15, 2022
Rafa can only stay alive at the end of the day if Fritz d. Ruud in two later today... pic.twitter.com/tbl7pOq4l4
But Auger-Aliassime, who is coached by Nadal’s uncle and former mentor Toni, came off of his own defeat against Ruud on Sunday to fight back and take advantage of mistakes in Nadal's game, including a pair of double faults and some errant shots from the baseline which tipped the balance in his favor.
Auger-Aliassime, the winner of four tournaments this season, continued to hone his advantage in the second set, scoring an early break of Nadal’s serve to put him on the back foot.
Despite some flashes of brilliance typical of one of the sport’s greatest-ever players, Nadal was unable to make for a good opponent to Auger-Aliassime, who has now given his hopes of qualifying for the final four a huge boost.
As for Nadal, winner of both the Australian Open and French Open for the first time in a single season, his 2022 season looks to be ending on a sour note, and he will need to avoid what would be a fifth successive ATP defeat when he takes on Norway’s Ruud on Thursday.
Ruud and Fritz, meanwhile, play each other later on Tuesday.