Nadal's Finals hopes on a knife edge after Auger-Aliassime defeat
Rafael Nadal's hopes of a first ever ATP Finals title and becoming year end world number one hang by a thread after he lost 6-3, 6-4 to Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime in Turin on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old Spaniard has lost both his matches in Turin -- he fell to Taylor Fritz on Sunday -- and will need to win his last Green Group match against Casper Ruud to keep alive his chances.
Even then it might be out of his hands.
Ruud -- who beat Auger-Aliassime in their opening clash -- faces Taylor Fritz later on Tuesday.
Nadal played like someone in just their third singles match since the US Open whereas Auger-Aliassime is in the form of his life having won three titles in October.
"It is great to win against him, and stay alive in the tournament!" said Auger-Aliassime.
"I have played some great tennis in the past month and to then beat a player of his stature is very special."
Nadal spurned all four of his break points in the first set, though his 22-year-old Canadian opponent produced two superb forehands to stave off a break at 3-3.
Auger-Aliassime by contrast made no mistake breaking the Spaniard with the only one he was offered.
The Canadian was equally clinical when he was presented with two set points converting the first of them.
Nadal fared little better in the second set, as the lack of competitive matches showed - he had taken a break to spend time with his son, who was born in October.
Auger-Aliassime took the match by the scruff of the neck as he broke Nadal at 1-1, the Spaniard sending a loose volley long.
Auger-Aliassime was hitting the ball with sublime accuracy and could afford a rueful smile when one did not go as smoothly, flying upwards into the roof of the indoor arena.
Nadal had few chances to put Auger-Aliassime under pressure with the Canadian playing so well but he had a break point -- the first of the second set for him -- on his rival's serve at 2-3.
However, once again he was unable to seize it and Auger-Aliassime went on to hold his serve and was never troubled from that point on, eventually closing out the match on the first of two match points.
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