ATP Tour Finals: Nadal crashes out after another straight-set defeat; Alcaraz to end 2022 as No.1
Former World No.1 and 22-time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal has crashed out of the ongoing ATP World Tour finals after yet another straight-set defeat to Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime. The defeat confirmed Nadal’s exit from the tournament, but he vowed to return back stronger in the next season. In the meantime, Nadal’s countrymen Carlos Alcaraz, not playing in the ATP Tours final is guaranteed to finish the year as World No.1 after the current set of results. US Open finalist Casper Ruud has also guaranteed his place in the semifinal with a late win.
The top-seeded Nadal lost 6-3, 6-4 to tournament debutant Felix Auger-Aliassime to leave him with two straight group-stage defeats in Turin. That result coupled with a victory for third-seeded Casper Ruud over Taylor Fritz in the later match meant a swift exit for Nadal.
Ruud became the first player to book a spot in the semifinals. It also meant that Carlos Alcaraz is guaranteed to end the year ranked No. 1 and the Spanish player will travel to Turin to attend a special ceremony on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old Nadal has now lost four straight matches for only the second time in his career, following defeats at the US Open and Paris. After starting the season by winning the Australian Open and French Open to take his tally of Grand Slam titles to a record 22, Nadal has played just eight singles matches since having to withdraw from the Wimbledon semifinals with an injury.
"Couple of positive things. I was able to play two tournaments in the past three weeks. That's the positive thing, something that I was not able to do for a while," Nadal said. "I don't think I forgot how to play tennis, how to be strong enough mentally. 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 going to reach that level again. But what I don't have any doubt is that I (am) going to die for it."
Nadal was beaten by eighth-seeded Fritz of the United States in their opening match on Sunday. The fifth-seeded Auger-Aliassime also lost his opener, to Ruud, and so Tuesday's match was crucial to both players' hopes of staying in the tournament.
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