Nadal ends sea­son a er Gof­fin de­feat R

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AFAEL Nadal will have to wait an­other year to win the ATP Fi­nals.

The world No. 1 with­drew from the elite, sea­so­nend­ing tour­na­ment af­ter los­ing his open­ing match to David Gof­fin 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 on Mon­day at the O2 Arena.

Nadal pulled out of the Paris Mas­ters at the quar­ter­fi­nal stage 10 days ago and ad­mit­ted ahead of the ATP Fi­nals on the in­door hard-court he strug­gles on, that his knees, which have caused him trou­ble through­out his ca­reer, were still “not per­fect.”

De­spite hav­ing qual­i­fied 13 con­sec­u­tive times for the ATP Fi­nals, only eight of which he’s been fit enough to com­pete in, Nadal has never won the event. Spain will still be rep­re­sented, as Nadal will be re­placed by US Open semi­fi­nal­ist Pablo Car­reno Busta.

“My sea­son is fin­ished,” Nadal said. “Yeah, I had the com­mit­ment with the event, with the city, with my­self. I tried hard. I did the thing that I had to do to try to be ready to play. I tried, but se­ri­ously was mir­a­cle to be very close in the score dur­ing the match.”

Af­ter two breaks of serve each, Gof­fin claimed an ugly open­ing set via a tiebreak and was on the verge of vic­tory in the sec­ond, but Nadal’s fight­ing spirit saved four match points to force an­other tiebreaker and draw level.

How­ever, the third set proved a step too far for the 16-time Grand Slam cham­pion, who be­gan to strug­gle with his move­ment and was in vis­i­ble pain. Gof­fin se­cured a dou­ble break to be 4-1, but Nadal ral­lied once more. He could re­trieve only one of the breaks.

“It was tough even if he was not mov­ing 100 per­cent,” Gof­fin said. “He was hit­ting the ball re­ally hard. It’s never easy to fin­ish a match, to fin­ish a set against him. Even if I lost four match points in the sec­ond, I had no re­gret. I kept go­ing in the third.”

Nadal omi­nously waved good­bye as he left the court, bring­ing to an end an­other aus­pi­cious sea­son. He won his 10th French Open in June, added a third US Open in Septem­ber and, at 31, be­came the old­est man to end the year atop of the rank­ings.

With the Aus­tralian Open still over two months away, Nadal was con­fi­dent play­ing in Lon­don wouldn’t have done any last­ing dam­age.

“The good thing is (this in­jury is) noth­ing new,” Nadal said. “Ev­ery­body of my team, we have the right ex­pe­ri­ence on this thing. We hope to man­age it well, to have the right rest, the right work, and try to be ready for the be­gin­ning of the next sea­son.”

Nadal’s exit sim­pli­fies Fed­erer’s path to a sev­enth ATP Fi­nals ti­tle. The win­ner of 2017’s other two Grand Slams re­turns to ac­tion against Alexan­der Zverev yes­ter­day af­ter de­feat­ing Jack Sock on Sun­day.

Mak­ing his de­but at the ATP Fi­nals ear­lier, Grigor Dim­itrov with­stood a come­back at­tempt from Do­minic Thiem and held on for a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 vic­tory.

The sixth-ranked Dim­itrov main­tained his fo­cus de­spite be­ing nar­rowly de­nied a chance to serve out the match in the sec­ond set, and then be­ing bro­ken at his first chance in the third.

“Every year you learn more about your­self, about the game, about the play­ers,” Dim­itrov said. “I’ve done also a lot of work on and off the court. It’s fi­nally start­ing to kind of, like, come to­gether.” – AP

Photo: AP

Rafael Nadal gri­maces dur­ing his match against David Gof­fin at the ATP World Fi­nals at the O2 Arena in Lon­don on Mon­day.

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