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Tennis • Nitto ATP Finals Group A: Lots Of Chaos On The Court, Even More Chaos In The Standings

By Ricky Dimon

Things continued to get crazy at the Nitto ATP Finals on Wednesday.

Following Dominic Thiem’s epic win over Novak Djokovic on Tuesday, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev put on a similarly wild show. While the quality may not have been on par with Thiem vs. Djokovic, there was no shortage of drama. Nadal trailed 1-5, 30-40 in the third set before saving one match point and storming back for a 6-7(3) 6-3, 7-6(4) triumph in two hours and 46 minutes.

An Alexander Zverev win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Wednesday’s nightcap would have made things straightforward for Group A the rest of the way: Zverev advances, Medvedev is eliminated, and Nadal vs. Tsitsipas is a de facto quarterfinal for a spot in the semis.

But that is not what happened. Not at all. Tsitsipas crushed Zverev 6-3, 6-2, sending the 21-year-old Greek through to the semifinals while postponing the fates of Zverev, Nadal, and Medvedev until Friday. Zverev simply needs to beat Medvedev and he gets a spot in the semis. Nadal requires a defeat of Tsitsipas combined with a Medvedev win over Zverev. Medvedev not only has to beat Zverev in straight sets but also needs Tsitsipas to take down Nadal.

Got it? Okay, good; now let’s get back to what happened on Wednesday.

Following Nadal’s incredible comeback at Medvedev’s expense, Tsitsipas disposed of Zverev in just one hour and 13 minutes. Following two consecutive matches that registered on the Richter scale, Wednesday’s nightcap left a lot to be desired.

“He played a fantastic match I thought,” the 22-year-old German said of Tsitsipas. “I played really bad. At this level, this is how it goes when somebody plays great and you don’t play your best. It can go this way, especially against him–who I think this surface… these conditions fit him quite well.”

“It was a good performance,” Tsitsipas assured. “It’s really good to know that I’ll be playing in the semifinals, but I’ve got to concentrate, keep going the way I have been doing things the last couple of days. My last encounter in groups against Rafa, which I am aware of that he’s a difficult opponent to face. I’m sure this match is going to mean a lot to him for a chance for him to make it to the semifinals, as well.”

Nadal seemed to have no chance of a semifinal berth when he trailed 5-1 on Wednesday. He has new life now, thanks to some help some Medvedev. He’ll need more help from Medvedev on Friday.

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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