ATP Finals debutant Taylor Fritz made a storming start on Sunday night with a 7-6(4), 6-1 shock win over Rafael Nadal as Green group play began at the eight-man season wrapup.
The American who entered the field after Carlos Alcaraz pulled out due to an abdominal muscle injury, earned his first victory over a Top 3 player after a dozen career attempts.
He will now play two-time Grand Slam finalist Casper Ruud after the Norwegian beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6)4), 6-4 to start off the eight-day tournament in Turin.
Nadal put up a fight as he lost a first set lasting three-quarters of an hour but was broken twice in the second set as his game failed to fire.
“It feels great,” Fritz said. “I came into my first match knowing that getting out of the group (into the weekend semi-finals would be important.
“But with the way I played this match, I couldn’t be happier. This fast court is good for my serve and my backhand.
“I’m happy with how I played today, I’d love to do that again.”
Fritz defeated Nadal for a second time this season after losing to the Spaniard in the Miami final in April.
Nadal, 36, who leads the record books with 22 Grand Slam titles, has never claimed a title at the year-ender and will have to work to break through as he competes for an 11th time.
The veteran saved four break points in the 11-minute sixth game of the second set, but sent over his seventh double-fault of the evening to trail Fritz 1=5.
Moments later, it was over for the Spaniard as he sent a forehand return long over the baseline for his 28th unforced error.
Main photo:- Taylor Fritz celebrates as he beats Rafa Nadal by ATPTour.com