Rafael Nadal has lost four straight matches for the third time in his career! The 36-year-old Spaniard missed two months after an early exit from the US Open and knew it wouldn’t be easy to find his rhythm during the indoor tour.
Still, Rafa gave his best to compete and end the season with some momentum. He fell to Tommy Paul in three sets in Paris before embracing his 11th campaign at the ATP Finals. The Spaniard battled well against Taylor Fritz in the first set before losing 7-6, 6-1.
Rafa faced another young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round-robin clash and experienced a 6-3, 6-4 defeat in one hour and 57 minutes. Thus, Nadal embraced his worst streak since 2009, with little hope for the last match of the group stage against Casper Ruud.
In addition, Rafa lost the opportunity to fight for no. 1 honor with Carlos Alcaraz, with a teenager becoming the youngest player to achieve this honor.
Rafael Nadal suffered a straight-set loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime in Turin.
Félix was the favorite to add his first victory over Rafa, and he showed it on the pitch.
The Canadian arrives in Turin on the back of three straight indoor titles and will have a chance to play in the ATP Finals semi-final on his debut if he picks up another win against Taylor Fritz on Thursday. Felix saved all five break points and dominated the shorter exchanges after firing 15 aces.
Nadal couldn’t do much with his opening shot, losing ground in rallies and experiencing a break in each set to propel the opposition across the finish line. Auger-Aliassime saved break points in two challenging games in the opener to move to a 4-3 lead.
He broke Nadal in game eight to build the lead and closed the first set with a 15-hold hold in game nine for 6-3. Playing without confidence, Rafa lost serve in the third game of the second set at 40-15 and fended off another break chance two games later to avoid complete disaster.
Felix erased a break point in the sixth game and Rafa served to stay in the match at 3-5. The Spaniard closed the ninth game with game winners and the Canadian served for the win at 5-4. Auger-Aliassime started with a service winner and hit a game-winning volley to make it 30-0.
Nadal extended play with a backhand crossover winner before his opponent set up a forehand winner for two match points. Felix capitalized on the first with a service winner to celebrate his first ATP Finals victory.