On Sunday, November 13, world No. 9 Taylor Fritz will face world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in each player's first round-robin match at the Nitto ATP Finals. This is an important match for Nadal, who is looking to win the ATP Finals for the first time in his career. Sure, a loss wouldn’t bounce him from the tournament, but it would have big consequences.
Nadal doesn’t want to go into his later round-robin match, against red-hot Felix Auger-Aliassime, needing a win. Rafa needs to take care of business against both Fritz and world No. 4 Casper Ruud, who are the weakest player in the green group. Rafa should also be taking this meeting with Fritz very seriously because the American beat him in the final at Indian Wells in March and then took him to a deciding set at Wimbledon in July.
This is the type of matchup that is typically very tough for Nadal, as Fritz is a big, physical player with a very big serve. But Fritz hasn’t exactly been playing well coming into this tournament. The American has lost two of his last three matches, including a defeat at the hands of Gilles Simon at the Rolex Paris Masters. Simon was actually a dangerous player at that tournament, as it was the last event of his professional career and he had the hometown crowd firmly in his corner. But that was still a match that Fritz should have won, as Simon doesn’t possess many weapons on the court and his age (37) makes it hard on him to play the type of defense he used to be known for. The result proved that Fritz just isn’t in great form.