Rafael Nadal survived a match point and came back from 4-0 down in the third set to overcome fourth seed, Daniil Medvedev.
The Spaniard started off well, winning the first game on his serve reasonably comfortable before Medvedev won three consecutive points to tie the set early on.
Long rallies in the third game made Nadal work hard to go 2-1 up, although the number one seed benefitted from two unforced errors by the Russian. Two brilliant shots from both players took the fourth game to deuce before Medvedev held his serve.
It was the Russian who had the first breakpoint of the game, aiming to go 4-3 up at a crucial point of the set. This was a chance that wasn’t taken, although he did hold his serve. Both players continued to hold their serve and took the set to a tie break. Medvedev won the tie break 7-3 to take the first set.
Nadal hit straight back with a break of serve before consolidating this by winning the next game to race into a 2-0 lead early in the second set. Each player continued to hold their services in what seemed to be a match of fine margins before the world number one had two break points to take the second set. However, a third set point wasn’t wasted and Nadal won the set 6-3.
There was another break of serve in the first game of the final set, with an unforced error from Nadal gifting Medvedev the chance to push on. A perfectly-weighted drop shot helped the Russian to break again in the third game, before holding his own serve to take a 4-0 lead.
A breakpoint put the fourth seed within a single point of serving for the match. Nadal survived another breakpoint after that to stop the rot.
This didn’t stop his opponent, who won the next game to go 5-1 up and edged ever closer to victory. However, he couldn’t capitalise on a match point and had to serve for the match. However, Nadal kept the game alive by breaking the serve, taking the set to 5-3 and a chance to reduce the deficit to one on his serve. This is a chance he took to crank up the pressure on Medvedev.
Nadal’s momentum allowed him to break the throw once again to remarkably draw the set after being 4-0 down. The Spaniard went 6-5 up before Medvedev just about held his serve to take the match to another tie break.
A 4-4 in the tie break, the players looked inseparable until Nadal won the next two points to set himself up with a match point. Nadal took advantage of this and challenged a decision to win the match.
Other 2019 ATP Nitto Finals results:
Loss vs Alexander Zverev: 2-6, 4-6
Loss vs Stefanos Tsitsipas: 6-7, 4-6