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Toni Nadal acknowledged it was difficult for Rafael Nadal to do well at the ATP Finals since he arrived to Turin not prepared well for the prestigious season-ending tournament. After the US Open, Nadal returned home and he didn’t singles again until the Paris Masters.

In Paris, Nadal lost to Tommy Paul in his first match at the tournament. Then, Nadal picked up back-to-back straight-set defeats to Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime in his first two Round Robin matches at the ATP Finals.

By losing to Fritz and Auger-Aliassime, Nadal lost his chances of qualifying for the semifinal. On Thursday, Nadal defeated Casper Ruud 7-5 7-5 in his Round Robin finale to avoid going winless in Turin.

Toni Nadal on Rafael Nadal’s ATP Finals campaign

“It was good.

For my nephew, this was an important match because I knew that when Rafa came here, he came with not enough proper preparation. It is very difficult. When you arrive at a Grand Slam it is not the same problem because you have had a few matches.

If he can pass the first week then in the second week he can win the tournament. But here it is not the same because in the first match you play against one of the best players in the world, and then it is too difficult. When he arrived at the Australian Open, for example, he did not play too good in the first game, the second not too good, in the third the same, then better and better.

This is what he did there, but this is impossible here,” Toni Nadal told Eurosport. Following his win over Ruud, Nadal admitted he didn’t end enjoy a dream end to the season but added he was glad that at least he was able to finish his year with a win. Nadal will now return home and spend some time with his family before kicking off his preparation for the 2023 season.

Rafael Nadal’s hopes of a first ATP Finals title are over after he was knocked out of the tournament in the group stage.

He was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Felix Auger-Aliassime after an opening-round loss to American Taylor Fritz in Turin.

The 36-year-old’s exit means Spanish compatriot Carlos Alcaraz finishes 2022 as world number one.

Norway’s Casper Ruud needed to win just one set against Fritz on Tuesday to eliminate Nadal.

Ruud, who had already beaten Auger-Aliassime, edged out Fritz 6-3 4-6 7-6 (8-6) in a tight encounter and is now top of the Green Group with two wins from two.

“I mean, I don’t think I forget how to play tennis, how to be strong enough mentally,” said Nadal.

“I just need to recover all these positive feelings and all this confidence and all this strong mentality that I need to be at the level that I want to be.

“I don’t know if I am going to reach that level again. But what I don’t have any doubt [about], is that I’m going to die for it.”

The 19-year-old Alcaraz, who won the US Open in September, is the youngest ever year-end world number one but is not competing in Turin because of injury.

Nadal has now lost four matches in a row, going back to the US Open.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram, who successfully defended their US Open title this year, beat Lloyd Glasspool and his Finnish partner Harri Heliovaara in the men’s doubles 7-5 6-4.

On Wednesday Novak Djokovic, who won his opening match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, will take on Andrey Rublev in his second match of the Finals while Tsitsipas will face Daniil Medvedev.

Stefanos Tsitsipas won two of his first three ATP Head2Head matchups against Novak Djokovic, but the Serbian has owned their rivalry since then, winning seven straight matches. Djokovic will now put that streak — and two others — on the line when he meets the Greek in Saturday’s Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals.

Novak Djokovic is the underdog by seeding in Bercy, but not by form. The sixth seed carries dual 12-match win streaks into the semis, both overall and at the ATP Masters 1000 event, where he has won titles in his past two appearances in 2019 and 2021. He has not dropped a set this week, cruising past Maxime Cressy, Karen Khachanov and Lorenzo Musetti as he looks to win his third straight ATP Tour trophy after triumphs in Tel Aviv and Astana.
“No one is unbeatable, but I’ve had plenty of success on this court and I think every single year that I come back, the confidence level is higher,” the six-time champion said after reaching his eighth semi-final at the event. “I just like the conditions, even though they are different from last year. I think I adjusted very well. Right from the start I was really playing my best tennis in the first match and I continued doing that. Hopefully I will not derail myself and will keep going in the same direction.”

Djokovic was particulaly dominant off his forehand wing against Musetti, firing eight winners in a 6-0, 6-3 victory. He received a forehand Shot Quality grade of 9.2 out of 10 for the match. (Learn more about Shot Quality.)
Tsitsipas also brings a perfect 6-0 set record into the semis following wins against Daniel Evans, Corentin Moutet and Tommy Paul. The fifth seed is seeking his third final in four events after reaching the title matches in Astana and Stockholm. He dropped a 6-3, 6-4 decision to Djokovic in the Astana final and has not beaten the Serbian since 2019.

Asked how he would snap his losing streak against the Serbian, Tsitsipas said that he would fight the urge to overplay against the man who spent a record 373 weeks as World No. 1 during his career.

“I need to show the same consistency,” he said. “I have weapons that I can use. But in the past I feel I have used too much spin or power. It’s important that I stay at a medium level and not overdo it. It will be a physical match and I will need to move well.”
The 24-year-old, who leads the ATP Tour with 60 wins this season, has an outside chance to finish 2022 atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He has moved up two places to No. 3 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings this week, and now sits fewer than 1,500 points behind World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. He could move within 830 points of the Spaniard by winning his third tour-level title of the year in Paris, with an additional 1,500 points on offer in Turin for an undefeated champion.

Saturday’s second semi-final is a rematch of last week’s Basel final between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Holger Rune. Like Djokovic, the Canadian also brings an impressive streak into the weekend: He has won 16 straight matches with titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel.

Rune has also been in blistering form of late, with Auger-Aliassime the only man who can better his 17-2 indoor record over the past two months. The Stockholm champion’s only losses in that stretch came against Marc-Andrea Huesler in the Sofia final and against Auger-Aliassime in Basel.

“I lost to him last week, but hopefully tomorrow is going to be different,” the #NextGenATP Dane said, looking ahead to the pair’s second meeting. “I know what happened last week and I can take a lot away from that and do a lot different tomorrow. I’m super pumped and super excited for what’s going to happen.”

Auger-Aliassime is through to his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, three years after his initial breakthrough in Miami in 2019.

“It’s crazy, because I remember like yesterday making my first semi-final in Miami,” said the Canadian. “It was so unexpected, and I thought at the time it was fine, making a semi-final in a Masters, [and that I] would do it many times in the future.

“Then it took three years for me to get back there and it just proves how tough it is at this level to reach the semi-finals or better at these events. So I’m really happy that I was able to do it.”

Set to make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, which begins 13 November, Auger-Aliassime has a chance to better Rafael Nadal’s season-high win streak of 20 matches before the year is up.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will look to book a heavyweight French Open quarter-final clash Sunday.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will search to order a heavyweight French quarter-final clash on Sunday, while Carlos Alcaraz hopes to extend running after becoming the youngest man who made the last 16 since 2006. Record Champion Roland Garros 13 times Nadal took Felix Auger-aliasime, The nine Canadian flagship trained by Toni Nadal, Uncle Bintang Spain and coach for the best parts of three decades.

Novak Djokovic and rafael Nadal

“For me, it’s very simple,” said Nadal.

“He is my uncle. He will not want me to lose. He wants the best for me and I want the best for him. But he’s a professional and with another player now. It’s zero problem.”

Auger-Aliassime started working with Toni Nadal in April 2021, four years after Nadal and his uncle called time on their 27-year, trophy-laden association.

“We knew it was a possibility that eventually I would play Rafa when I’m working with Toni,” said Auger-Aliassime, who made his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open in September.

“I think Toni will watch from a neutral place and enjoy the match. From my part it’s another match.
“Rafa’s career and what he did with Toni was far greater than the match on Sunday.”

Rafael Nadal’s record at the French Open reads 108 wins against just three defeats.

He has reached at least the last eight in 15 of 17 visits to Paris. Nadal lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and withdrew before the third round in 2016 with a wrist injury.

Another victory for Rafael Nadal would send him through to a quarter-final with Djokovic should the world number one and defending champion defeat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in his last-16 clash.

Alcaraz follows in Djokovic footsteps

Djokovic has won all six previous meetings with Schwartzman, the 15th seed from Argentina, including a five-set victory in the third round at Roland Garros in 2017.

Alcaraz, 19, is the youngest man through to the second week of the French Open since Djokovic 16 years ago.

After saving a match point in the second round, the sixth seed gained revenge against the only man to beat him on clay this year, defeating American Sebastian Korda in straight sets.

“I think I am ready,” said Alcaraz. “If I win this tournament I would say it’s my golden ticket.”

He has won 20 of 21 matches on clay this season and next faces 21st seed Karen Khachanov.

Third seed and 2021 semi-finalist Alexander Zverev plays qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles, the 134th-ranked Spaniard who is enjoying his best run at a major and took down John Isner in the last 32.

Last year’s US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez tackles American 27th seed Amanda Anisimova, who made the last four in Paris three years ago and knocked out Naomi Osaka in the first round.

Coco Gauff, 18, sought a repetition of his final quarter’s performance from last year when he met Elise Mertens from Belgium, while Swiss’s 23rd seed Jil Teichmann played the former US champion Sloane Stephens, who lost the 2018 Roland Garros final.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich will try to reach the last eight of a major for the first time against Italy’s Martina Trevisan, a surprise quarter-finalist in 2020.