LONDON — Rafael Nadal saved a match point at 5-1 down in the third set before rallying to beat Daniil Medvedev 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4) at the ATP Finals on Wednesday, keeping alive his chances of advancing from the group stage.
The Spaniard looked headed for a second straight loss at the season-ending tournament but won five games in a row to go up 6-5 in the deciding set. In the tiebreaker, Medvedev missed a routine forehand to hand Nadal a match point and then sent a backhand just wide. That shot was initially called in but was overturned by Hawk-Eye after Nadal challenged the decision.
The win gives Nadal a 1-1 record after two matches, while Medvedev fell to 0-2. Stefanos Tsitsipas was set to play defending champion Alexander Zverev in the evening match, with both players looking for a second win.
In a rematch of this year’s US Open final, Nadal came out looking much sharper than in his opening loss to Zverev and broke Medvedev twice in the second set.
But the Russian raced out to a 4-0 lead in the third set and had two more break points in the next game. However, Nadal held and then saved a match point at 30-40 in his next service game with a backhand drop shot at the net.
Nadal’s win also strengthens his grip on the year-end No. 1 ranking, as it means Novak Djokovic has to win the tournament to have any chance of overtaking him. Djokovic first has to beat Roger Federer on Thursday just to advance to the semifinals.