David Goffin stuns struggling Rafael Nadal, who then quits tournament
David Goffin produced a huge shock to beat world number one Rafael Nadal for the first time, winning 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-4 at the ATP World Tour Finals, with the Spaniard retiring from the tournament shortly after the match through injury.
Nadal's notorious fighting spirit and Goffin's frayed nerves stretched the match into a third hour but the underdog finally took his chance to claim a first career win over the 16-times Grand Slam champion.
The Spaniard was moving freely enough for the first half of the match, even if the fizz was missing from his strokes, but by the end he appeared to be playing on one leg as the knee injury that had threatened his participation in the event was clearly causing him pain.
It was therefore unsurprising when Nadal withdrew from the tournament shortly after the match.
"I'm not ready to play... I fought a lot knowing it was my last match of the season," he told reporters.
"My commitment was to try... I've missed this event too many times in my career," added the Spaniard who has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career.
Rafael Nadal ATP Finals LondonEurosport
Eighth-ranked Goffin, the first man from Belgium to qualify for the ATP Finals, seemed to have blown his chance when four match points came and went in the second set, but he broke twice to pull away into a 4-1 lead in the decider.
Again Nadal dug deep to claw back one of the breaks but this time Goffin held his nerve at 5-4 to claim victory with an ace on his fifth match point.
"I'm so glad I found the key to win this match and do it here at the Finals was very special," Goffin, who will be in Davis Cup final action for Belgium later this month, said.
"I just wanted to keep going in the third, even if I lost the second after the match points."
With additional reporting from Reuters