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"Need to play at my highest level; if not, is almost impossible" - Rafael Nadal on his chances of beating Medvedev

Rafael Nadal exults after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Rafael Nadal exults after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas.
ANALYST
Modified 20 Nov 2020, 14:37 IST
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Rafael Nadal produced a top-drawer display on Thursday to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas and secure his place in the semis of the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals. Now the Spaniard will lock horns with Daniil Medvedev on Saturday for a place in the final.

The Russian has been in imperious form so far in London, having soundly beaten Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic in his first two matches. And Rafael Nadal appeared extremely cautious about the upcoming semifinal during his post-match press conference on Thursday.

The Mallorcan first recalled his group-stage match against Medvedev last year, where Nadal famously come back from 5-1 down in the final set. The World No. 2 believes that he was 'lucky' on that day to be able to take advantage of Medvedev's errors.

“Well, it have been a close match I think,” Nadal said. “Of course at the end have been a very strange end of the match, no? I think it was a good level of tennis for most of the time, but is true that the end I was lucky and he make a couple of mistakes to close the match."
Rafael Nadal will take on Daniil Medvedev on Saturday
Rafael Nadal will take on Daniil Medvedev on Saturday

Medvedev will come into his match against Nadal fresher than last year, given that the season was greatly curtailed due to the pandemic. The Russian also seems to have regained his touch just at the right moment, winning the Paris Masters and beginning his campaign in London in blistering fashion.

In that context, Rafael Nadal suggested that Medvedev is a different beast this time around, and stressed that he needs to bring his A game to stand a chance against the World No. 4.

“But, yeah, I know it’s a different story, he’s playing great,” Nadal continued. “I think last year he was very tired mentally at the end of the season. I think this year is a different story. He has plenty of confidence. Yeah, I know it gonna be a tough one. I know I need to play at my highest level; if not, is almost impossible and I hope to be ready to make that happen.”

I was able to find a way to win: Rafael Nadal on his match against Tsitsipas

Rafael Nadal after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas
Rafael Nadal after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas
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Rafael Nadal went into his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas knowing that he needed nothing less than a win to make the last four. And the Spaniard played like it at the start, giving the Greek no leeway on his serve.

Nadal won close to 80% of his first serve points for most of the first two sets, sometimes even touching the 90 mark. However, when serving to stay in the second set, Rafael Nadal stunningly collapsed - serving up a double fault on break point to hand Tsitsipas the set.

The Spaniard’s confidence seemingly took a tumble after that; he struggled to find his first serve as Tsitsipas broke him once again in the third set. However, Nadal quickly regained his composure and survived the mini-hiccup to eventually close out the match in his favor.

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“I was playing I think a great level of tennis for almost two sets," Nadal said in his presser. "For doing the 6-4, 5-4, I think the score was close, but in terms of feeling I felt that I was playing better than him. Then the situation changed. He won that game and then I was starting to suffer a little bit more with my serve, no?”
“But it’s always good feeling when you are playing well and you’re playing against the best players of the world,” he added. "You know you’re going to be a tough fight. That’s what happened tonight, no? I was able to find a way to win. Very happy."
Published 20 Nov 2020, 14:37 IST
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