The defending champion at the ATP World Tour Finals 2019, Alexander Zverev defeated Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4 in the opening match at London’s O2 Arena. It was the first match of 2019 where Nadal did not have any break points. Zverev pulled off his first victory against Rafa in his ATP career.
With this, Nadal’s year-end World Number one ranking seems in jeopardy. If Novak Djokovic reaches the finals (with three round-robin wins) and Rafael Nadal exits from the semifinals of the tournament, the Serbian will be finishing the year as the World Number one tennis player.
The tennis followers were skeptical about Rafa’s participation at Nitto Finals this year due to his abdominal injury, but his 126mph first serve in the opening service game followed by a stronghold revealed the Spaniard’s form. The German, Alexander Zverev showered aces to make a hold in the next game which incorporated a 147mph service ace.
1-1 Game on!
With a series of unforced errors from the top-seed, World Number one, Rafael Nadal was broken to love which was accompanied by a brilliant defensive game from Sascha for a 3-2 lead. With 93% of first serves in, Zverev consolidated for a 4-2 lead in the first match at ATP World Tour Finals 2019.
What a Winner!
With a cross-court forehand from Zverev while Rafa was ready for a volley dropped jaws in the crowd. Two forehand unforced errors from Nadal gifted another break to the German and a 5-2 lead.
The chair umpire, Ali Nili was the one who gave time violation warnings to Rafael Nadal during the US Open 2019 finals and in London, the Spaniard was unhappy with his umpiring.
Sascha Zverev lost four points on serve throughout the set and closed it out 6-2.
An intelligent challenge by Sascha Zverev aided for a 30-30 scoreline in the opening game of the second set on Rafa’s serve. With Nadal clipping, a backhand wide gave rise to a break point. Zverev crushed Rafa’s service game with a volley winner and the top-seed seemed helpless at that point.
Rafa giving his best!
At 3-1, Rafael Nadal had threats for a double-break trail, however, the top-seed hit three big first serves in a row and sealed the game with an ace at 3-2.
Rafa failed to face break points as Zverev was dominant with his forehand winners. With a rock-solid 105mph forehand Sascha held a 5-3 lead in the second set. With Rafa holding the next game, the defending champion pulled off his first victory against the 19-time Grand Slam champion, Nadal in the subsequent game.
Relentless hitting! Bravo Sascha!