Rafael Nadal produced an incredible fightback to beat Russian Daniil Medvedev and keep his ATP Finals hopes alive on Wednesday, saving a match point at 1-5 down in the decider before winning 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(4).
The 33-year-old looked beaten as 23-year-old debutant Medvedev broke serve twice in the decider to stand on the brink of a first career victory over the Spaniard he pushed to five sets in an epic U.S. Open final in September.
For once world number one Nadal’s trademark fighting spirit seemed to have ebbed away but he saved a match point at 1-5 with a superb drop shot and was suddenly re-energized.
Twice Medvedev served for the match, at 5-2 and 5-4, but he tightened up and world number one Nadal, roared on by the 02 Arena crowd, needed no second invitation to take advantage.
Nadal has never won the ATP Finals title, the only gap on a CV that includes 19 Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold.