ATP Finals 2020: Rafael Nadal tops Andrey Rublev in London opener

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal got off to a winning start at the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday night.

Our champ recorded his second win against the 23-year-old Russain Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 in their first Group London match that lasted 78 minutes.

He has now won 70 matches in a row after winning the first set, the last time he lost from a set up being a 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) loss to Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals of Acapulco in February 2019.

After the match, Rafa said:

I think it has been a positive start for me. Always, the first match is very tricky. Here, every match is difficult, you play against the best of the best so very happy, sorry for Rublov [sic] but I wish him the very best for the rest of the tournament. He had an amazing season even under these very difficult conditions. We had the season and he was able to win a lot of titles so it’s an important victory for me.

Rafa will enjoy a day off before Group London 2020 hits the court again. On Tuesday he will face Dominic Thiem, who defeated defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets earlier today.

52 comments

  1. Lorna, it’s no surprise that the planned PTPA seems to have failed. First and foremost, from what I can ascertain, the PTPA didn’t have a clue about what to do after they recruited a handful of players. Kevin Anderson said he waited for the group’s by-laws; information on how they would harness bargaining power; how would they circumvent the power of the ATP and the Grand Slams, licensing, sponsorships, and so much more.

    If ND did indeed hire a legal team or lawyers to help him they quite possibly were not able to see a clear path for the PTPA to exist alongside the ATP.

    As Kevin, Rafa and Roger have said, ND was not looking at the long term consequences of a separate body. That he was not looking at how much the ATP has accomplished since 2012.

    Kevin, Rafa and Roger also felt it was the worst time for him to try this scheme. ND said he was looking to get better pay for the lower ranked ATP members. How far would that go if the PTPA also included women’s tennis players.

    Kevin, Rafa and Roger are in agreement that communication is the better route to accomplish anything, something that ND is not keen on when you consider how he spearheaded the push to get rid of Justin Gimelstob who did great things while in office. ND did it without conferring with Rafa and Roger.

    LAST but NOT LEAST, ND seems not to be any kind of leader considering the Adria Tour and the USOPEN fiascos plus his mind boggling “science.”

    I am waiting to see how the players will vote in December and if ND will use the time between now and then to unite players instead of to continue to build wedges between them and the ATP.

    As far as Kevin, Rafa and Roger are concerned I doubt that there will be a I told you so moment. Their priority would be to try to build consensus and understanding among the players.

  2. Simon Briggs (Telegraph tennis correspondent) has posted on Twitter that he heard Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil – who resigned from the ATP Council to launch the PTPA – are now applying to rejoin the Player Council. It looks like they struggled to recruit members. Ummh! 🤔 If this is the case, I wonder what Rafa, Roger and others think about this. We await confirmation and an explanation.

    Votes have to be in by the end of December and the new Council starts on 1st January.

    [@simonbriggs]

  3. It’s good to see Rafa taking the positives from his loss and remaining optimistic.
    ” It was a great match of tennis…..decided by small details. He (Thiem) played an amazing match and I played well too. My feeling is not negative. I think my chances are bigger to have a very good result now than five days ago because the level of tennis, even if I lost today, is much higher.”
    Rafa will learn from this defeat and would have hit the reset button ready for Thursday. Good luck champ!

  4. Rafa vs Tsitsipas: not before 8pm local time, not before 12pm pacific time Thursday, Nov. 19
    All the best Rafa!🍀💪❤️

  5. Yes Mimi Lau, I’m praying for a straight sets win for Rafa against Tsitsipas, because it’s going to be a dog fight for second place in the group. Thank goodness for the RR format, which means at least Rafa gets a lifeline.

    • Hi Lorna, unfortunately Rafa lost a close match to Thiem, his path to the semis is more complicated now. A straight sets victory over Tsitsipas would be wonderful!🤞

      Vamos Rafa💪🍀❤️

  6. I wish Rafa won the match……Kudos to Rafa for always giving his best regardless indoors hard court is his least favorite surface. Keep fighting, you can still make the semis!💪 Good luck against Tsitsipas next🍀❤️

    • Me too Mimi, but both played very good tennis and Rafa was unable to close out. He did make errors, not many but at bad moments. His nerves may have gotten the better of him or it’s just that Thiem was better. Whichever the case, I hope he wins his next match. I hope this loss pushes him to win on Thursday. He will keep on trying.

    • Marijnt, that’s harsh. Were we watching the same match? I don’t think it was a terrible performance by Rafa at all. Overall, both players performed very well and it was extremely close, as the scoreline suggests. The tie break can be a cruel lottery.

  7. Sadly my predictions score for this tournament is still 100%, though I was hoping for a third set. What is it with Rafa and tie-breaks against Thiem? Nice to see such good tennis and sportsmanlike behaviour from both.

    • Simon Briggs (Telegraph tennis correspondent) has posted on Twitter that he heard Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil – who resigned from the ATP Council to launch the PTPA – are now applying to rejoin the Player Council. It looks like they struggled to recruit members. Ummh! 🤔
      We await confirmation and an explanation.

      Votes have to be in by the end of December and the new Council starts on 1st January.

      [@simonbriggs]

  8. It was a close match that really could have gone either way. Props to Thiem, he was steadier when it counted.

    Best case scenario now, maybe Rafa will meet Thiem again in the finals?? I think last year Rafa won two matches and still didn’t make the semifinals.

    Oh well… all good champ!! On to the next match!

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