Rafa squeaks past Fish in opener
Originally published on: 20/11/11 22:38
The world No.2 held a comfortable 7-1 record over his American opponent going into today’s game and there was little evidence of an upset early in the match with Nadal comfortably taking the first set 6-2.
But after almost a decade waiting for his maiden ATP Finals appearance, Fish was not prepared to go down without a fight and the 29 year old bounced back to take the second set after some early breaks put him in control.
Nadal, who was playing in his first game in over five weeks, was up 2-0 in the third before exiting the court abruptly to the surprise of the crowd and his opponent. After the match Nadal reported that the cause was an upset stomach but his impromptu break only served to spur Fish on further and the world No.8 reeled off three games on the trot to lead 3-2.
At this stage the pair were breaking serve for fun but Nadal managed to grind out a hold at 3-3 while Fish saved two match points when serving at 5-4 and the match inevitably headed to a tiebreak.
But like so often in the past, Nadal dug deep to produce the spirit and determination that has seen him win 10 Grand Slam titles and in the end he had too much for Fish, winning 7-3 in the deciding set tiebreak.