Rafael Nadal headed home from the ATP Finals on Friday after defending champion Alexander Zverev’s win against Daniil Medvedev confirmed the Spaniard’s exit from the season-ending tournament.
The world No 1 recovered to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5 in the early round-robin match at London’s O2 Arena but knew he was dependent on the later result.
Zverev’s 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win meant he qualified for the semifinals from Group Andre Agassi alongside Tsitsipas.
Tsitsipas, who topped the group, will play six-time champion Roger Federer in Saturday’s semifinals while Zverev will meet Dominic Thiem, who finished ahead of Federer in Group Bjorn Borg.
“I’m in the semis again, this arena is where I play my best tennis,” said Zverev. “We don’t play in this atmosphere anywhere else in the world.
“Today because Daniil had nothing to lose he could just enjoy it, but for me it was must-win. He’s been the best player since the summer so all credit to him.”
Zverev, who beat Novak Djokovic in the final last year, has had a mixed season but now has the chance to end it on a high in London.
Nadal, who has already secured the year-end No 1 ranking, has never won the end-of-season tournament
Federer secured a spot in the semifinals for the 16th time in his career on Thursday by beating Djokovic in straight sets.