Fritz Fires Past Nadal In Nitto ATP Finals Debut | ATP Tour
Injuries were a major storyline in the previous two 2022 meetings between Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz. On Sunday at the Nitto ATP Finals, both men were operating with clean bills of health in Turin — with Fritz putting forth an equally clean performance to earn a famous upset.
With a 7-6(3), 6-1 win, Fritz completed a dream debut at the season finale while denting Nadal’s bid to win the lone big title that has eluded him in his legendary career. The Spaniard’s defeat also means he must now claim the Turin title to overtake Carlos Alcaraz for the year-end No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking.
Fritz improved to 2-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Nadal, backing up his win in the Indian Wells final in March — a match the American nearly didn’t play due to an ankle injury. He also gained a measure of revenge after a heartbreaking Wimbledon quarter-final defeat in which Nadal came from behind despite struggling with an abdominal tear.
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The last man into the Turin field, Fritz showed he belonged with a dominant display as he controlled the match with his serve and forehand. The 25-year-old did not face a break point and created nine of his own, converting on two of six in the second set to run away with the victory.
It is his first win against a Top 3 opponent in 12 attempts.
Nadal, who was playing in his second ATP Tour singles match since the US Open, has now suffered three straight defeats, all against Americans. He was turned back by Frances Tiafoe at the US Open and Tommy Paul two weeks ago in Paris before Sunday’s loss at the hands of Fritz.
Did You Know?
Fritz is the first American singles player to compete at the Nitto ATP Finals since John Isner in 2018. He is bidding to become the first American semi-finalist since Jack Sock in 2017 (London), the first finalist since James Blake in 2006 (Shanghai) and the first champion since Pete Sampras in 1999 (Hanover).