America’s Taylor Fritz reached the final four of the ATP Finals in his debut tournament by outlasting Canda’s Felix Auger-Aliassime while Rafael Nadal avoided his worst-ever losing sequence with a victory over Norway’s Casper Ruud in his final match in Turin.
In a clash akin to a quarterfinal, Fritz managed to eke out a 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-2 win to reach the next stage at the expense of his opponent.
The first set offered a perfect preview of what was to come with neither of them managing to make inroads on the other’s serve until the tiebreak where Auger-Aliassime’s dependable backhand went missing to hand Fritz a one-set advantage.
The opposite happened in the tiebreak of the second set with the American faltering at the wrong time to cue a deciding set.
Fritz finally managed to earn a break while leading 3-2 in the decider to cruise from there with Auger-Aliassime putting a backhand wide on match point.
Taylor Fritz will now take on Novak Djokovic for a place in the deciding clash of the ATP Finals.
Meanwhile, Nadal, who had already been eliminated from the tournament after back-to-back losses, managed to leave Italy on a high with a 7-5,7-5 win over Casper Ruud.
The Spaniard appeared adamant not to end a season with a fifth successive defeat, something the 36-year-old had not experienced since before his career took off in 2004-05.
After an equal opening, Nadal fought off two break points at 4-4 and cruised from there needing just one chance to seal the set when the Norwegian errored at 5-6.
It was a similar story in the second set with nothing between the players until Nadal pounced again in the 12th game. Ruud managed to save on match point but was helpless as Nadal sealed his first win of the tournament.