Stefanos Tsitsipas must reverse a losing record against Rafael Nadal if the Greek is to reach the semi-final of the ATP Finals.

The defending champion at the eight-man season wrapup took the first set in rescuing his preliminary group play record with his 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(6) defeat on Tuesday of Andrey Rublev, leaving the Russian debutant out of the running with a 0-2 record after double-faulting on a match point.

But Tsitsipas is in with a chance – but only if he can defeat Nadal, who holds a 6-1 lead in their career series.

Spain’s world No. 2 won four out of five matches played between the pair last season, with Tsitsipas claiming his only victory in Madrid, stunning Nadal in a clay semi-final.

The Thursday London date in the crowd-free O2 Arena will be the best chance for Tsitsipas to make it back to the weekend in the ATP showpiece.

Stefanos Tsitsipas. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“This is an opportunity for me to fight even harder and give my very best out on the court,” he said. “It will require a lot of physical effort.

“I’m going to have to go through a lot of pain and suffering, so it is going to be a difficult match,” the drama-prone Greek added.

“I’m expecting a fight from my side. I really want it (semis) a lot.I’m really looking forward to bringing my best tennis , it’s a great challenge.”

Nadal is playing the year-end event for a tenth time but has never lifted the trophy; he can keep his chances for the semi-finals alive by defeating Tsitsipas, which would make him the second group qualifier  behind Dominic Thiem.

 “I think I can win oin every surface and against any player,” 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal said. 

“It’s true that I’ve never won the Finals. But it’s no problem. I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances.”

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