LONDON: Rafael Nadal produced an incredible fightback to beat Russian Daniil Medvedev and keep his ATP Finals hopes alive on Wednesday, saving a match point at 1-5 down in the decider before winning 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(4).
The 33-year-old looked beaten as 23-year-old debutant Medvedev broke serve twice in the decider to stand on the brink of a first career victory over the Spaniard he pushed to five sets in an epic U.S. Open final in September.
For once world number one Nadal`s trademark fighting spirit seemed to have deserted him but he saved a match point at 1-5 with a superb drop shot and was suddenly re-energised.
Twice Medvedev served for the match, at 5-2 and 5-4, but he tightened up and Nadal, roared on by the 02 Arena crowd, needed no second invitation to take advantage.
Nadal edged ahead when he held serve at 5-5 and when Medvedev trailed 0-30 in the next game it appeared the Russian was now a spent force.
Medvedev regained his composure in the nick of time to hold serve with an ace and take the match into a deciding set tiebreak and looked dangerous again.
Yet he missed a forehand with the court gaping after a long rally at 4-5 to give Nadal two match points.
Medvedev thought he had saved the first one with a backhand winner but it was called out and his Hawkeye challenge showed the ball had missed the line by a fraction.