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Rafael Nadal Down And Out • ATP Tennis Nitto World Tour Finals • Bryan Bros Squeeze Out A Win Over Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares

Mike Bryan (L) and Bob Bryan (R) of the USA in action against Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares during their group stage Doubles match at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London, Britain, 13 November 2017. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA



By Ricky Dimon


Rafael Nadal’s Nitto ATP World Tour Finals campaign is over. It wasn’t a good one. Nadal’s 2017 season is also over. It, however, was a great one.


Hobbled by a knee injury, the world No. 1 lost to David Goffin 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-4 on Monday night and then announced his withdrawal in the ensuing press conference. Goffin picked up the biggest win of his career–at least in terms of ranking–after two hours and 37 minutes.


Nadal, who withdrew from the Paris Masters prior to a scheduled quarterfinal contest because of the same knee issue, did well to make this one so competitive. Goffin seemed to be coasting toward a straight-set victory on multiple occasions, but his opponent simply would not go away. As it turned out, though, Nadal used all of his reserves to steal the second set and had nothing left for the third.


And even before the match was over, the Spaniard knew his tournament would not continue.


Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against David Goffin of Belgium during their group stage match during the ATP Finals in London, Britain, 13 November 2017. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

“I [knew] during the match,” Nadal explained. (This) is not a decision I [took] five minutes ago; (this) is a decision that I [took] during the match. Even winning, even losing, I (was) going to pull out because I was not enjoying on court at all.


“I am, of course, disappointed. But I am not going to cry. I had a great season. I really appreciate all the things that happened to me during the whole season. I (am) going to work hard to try to give me more chances the next season to keep being at the top.”


It is Goffin who is on top of Group A along with Grigor Dimitrov, who also survived a three-setter. Making his debut at the O2 Arena, Dimitrov held off Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 during the afternoon session.


“It was just one of those new experiences that I think I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” the Bulgarian commented. “I think (I’ll) appreciate (it) for the rest of my life. This is where I always wanted to be–among the top players. Also being able to come through in my first match, it’s only positive.”


Bob and Mike Bryan came through their first match, as well, also in a decider. After splitting the first two sets against Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, the Bryan brothers took the super-tiebreaker 10-8. Murray Soares, who battle back from a break down in the second, could not quite overcome an 8-3 deficit in the ‘breaker.


The only straight-set match of the day saw Lukasz Kubot and Marcel Melo beat Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers. With their win, Kubot and Melo clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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