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Daniil Medvedev made an impressive comeback to defeat Rafael Nadal for the first time and set up a decider Nitto ATP Finals against Dominic Thiem

A glance at the list of Grand Slam winners will show that the old guard are still legitimate leaders of the peloton, but their heels are clicking more bite now, especially from Thiem and Medvedev

After watching Thiem recover from 0-4 in a decisive tie-break to beat Djokovic in the first semi-final, Medvedev returned to a set and breakout path to beat Nadal 3-6 7 -6 (4) 6-3

First victory against Nadal, first final in London 👏 @ DaniilMedwed completes an incredible 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 comeback! #NittoATPFinals picTwittercom / GgT5wPLAeL

This maintained his record of not losing a game this week and, coupled with his Paris Masters win earlier this month, he is now on a nine-game winning streak.

Nadal, whose search for the biggest title he has yet to claim continues, had won his previous three clashes with Medvedev but the last two were unusually close

Medvedev hit back after two sets in his first Grand Slam final at the US Open last year to lose five times, while in London last year he led 5-1 in the deciding set of a round robin match before, in his own words, suffocating

The Russian had been so impressive this week, especially in a convincing win over Djokovic, that most pundits made him the favorite and Nadal was forced to save three break points in Game 3

But the Spaniard was very optimistic about his own level, even after losing to Thiem, and, when Medvedev failed to land a first serve at 4-3, Nadal jumped up

The world number two had won 71 consecutive games in which he had won the first set, so the scale of Medvedev’s task was clear

He received a helping hand early in the second set, however, when Nadal double faulted the break point in Game 2, and the second seed had to save another break point for avoid taking 5-1 behind

It seemed like the crunch moment as Nadal played a brilliant second leg to return to serve and, doubts now sown in Medvedev’s mind, made it four games in a row to move to the brink of the victory

But the Russian, who didn’t win an O2 game on his debut last year, didn’t finish and played a perfect return game to endear Nadal when he served for the match

Medvedev opened up a 6-3 tie-break lead, in part thanks to an outrageous rod that came full circle on Nadal, and this time the Spaniard couldn’t find a way back

Nadal quickly regained the initiative after losing the second set to Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday but here he had to fight against another breaking point at the start of the decision maker

Unusually, it was a lack of cruelty on the part of the Spaniard that cost him as he failed to seize several opportunities to hold the serve at 3-3 Medvedev seized the opportunity and did not let go

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Nadal, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem

World news – GB – Daniil Medvedev fights to see Rafael Nadal