Rafael Nadal vs David Goffin LIVE from the ATP World Tour FinalsGETTY

Rafael Nadal vs David Goffin LIVE from the ATP World Tour Finals

Nadal’s very participation in the tournament has been in constant doubt after he pulled out of the Paris Masters 11 days ago with a knee problem.

But on Friday the Spaniard said he would play, with the caveat that he could not predict exactly how his problem might react to playing again.

However, after attending his scheduled practice session at 4pm this afternoon, he is expected to make it through at least this first group match and will have the benefit of a full day off before playing again on Wednesday.

No 7 seed Goffin has also has his share of injury problems this year after tripping on some netting at Roland Garros, but is hoping to add a first ever win over Nadal to his record after two defeats on clay this year.

Rafael Nadal vs David Goffin LIVE – latest ATP World Tour Finals action

(* denotes next to serve)

Another unforced error hands Nadal the mini-break and a 2-0 lead but he hands it straight back and Goffin has the perfect chance to make it 3-2 but smacks a mid-court forehand on the volley into the net. It’s level at the change of ends…

Nadal 6-6 Goffin – tie-break

Pressure is a powerful thing. Goffin double-faults at 15-15 to give Rafa a sniff and he starts to hit such a deep length that the Belgian can’t cope. The two break-back points force a second double-fault and we will have a breaker to resolve the set.

Nadal 5-6 Goffin*

Superb stuff from Goffin, who steps into the court at 0-15 and batters a backhand down the line for a winner. Two Nadal unforced errors bring up two more break points for the Belgian and Nadal’s second serve catches so little of the line that there are audible gasps from the crowd, but it is called good and Goffin nets the return.

It doesn’t matter though as a series of brilliant inside-out forehands from Goffin win him the break and he will now serve for his first ever set against Nadal.

*Nadal 5-5 Goffin

Nothign complicated as Goffin holds to 15, mostly thanks to excellent placement of serves as much as anything else.

Nadal 5-4 Goffin*

Goffin is finding some ridiculous angles with his backhand, hitting an unreturnable and then a winner into the forehand wing of Nadal. But at 30-30, the Spaniard ups the ante again and eases himself out of the game. 

*Nadal 4-4 Goffin

Goffin seals his hold with an ace. This the first time he’s played Nadal not on clay and he doesn’t look remotely scared of taking him on. Can he match the power and consistency though?

Nadal 4-3 Goffin*

Nadal seems to have hit a rhythm now. Given that he can’t practice much at the moment it is perhaps unsurprising that he has taken a while to get going.

A couple of wayward forehands give Nadal the game but they as much came about as a result of the Spaniard’s powerful striking as anything else.

*Nadal 3-3 Goffin

Nadal is out of the change of ends very early indeed as if to send a message to Goffin that says: I’m fit and ready. The first point adds to that suggestion as he outlasts the Belgian and a double-fault at 15-30 gives Nadal his first two break-back points.

Goffin does all the hard work, forcing Nadal back into the corner but then hits a simple forehand into the net. Nadal breaks back.

David GoffinGETTY

David Goffin grabbed the early break

Nadal 2-3 Goffin*

He’s had to go up about three gears in no time here Nadal and he’s managing it, just about, but Goffin is playing some beautiful, flat groundstrokes.

Nadal holds to 15.

*Nadal 1-3 Goffin

Goffin loses a single point by virtue of a double-fault, and then seals the game with two aces. That is impressive from the Belgian and if there are any doubts about his knee in Rafa’s mind, they are being fed by this start.

Nadal 1-2 Goffin*

I do love the noise most crowds make when Nadal actually loses a point. Usually one of mild disbelief mixed with serious concern.

It happens three times in the first four points of game two, giving Goffin two early break points…of which he takes the first when Nadal fires long on his forehand! Goffin breaks first.

*Nadal 1-1 Goffin

Very solid opening service game from Goffin, logging his first ace and controlling each point. 

Nadal 1-0 Goffin*

Nice point under the belt first up for Goffin, who might look to go aggressive early given Nadal has been something of a slow starter in 2017. He hits a nice forehand pass but three big Nadal serves, another 2017 feature, give him the lead in the game.

But Goffin produces a fine backhand winner after a Nadal slip to force deuce. A big serve and a long rally later and it’s game Nadal. Obvious already that Goffin will target Nadal’s backhand wing whenever possible.

8.15pm: Goffin has never beaten Nadal but to be fair, he’s only played him twice and both times that was on clay and both this year.

The Belgian might not get such a good chance to do so as today, against a supposedly injured Nadal, indoors where he is not supposed to like it as much and at a tournament he has never won. Here we go then…

8.05pm: Okay so that didn’t take too long and for once, everything is basically running on time. Nadal and Goffin have been introduced by an obnoxiously loud announcer (maybe I’m getting old and grumpy but he’s very loud) and as the Spaniard sprints down to knock up at the far end, there is a huge cheer.

Popular lad that Rafa.

7.55pm: Oh this might delay things slightly. Kubot and Melo have just been presented with their year-end world No 1 trophy and done a wee interview so that’s taking a bit of time.

Not that I’m in a rush or anything. I just don’t want to miss the last Tube, you know. I’m sure Rafa is the same.

7.50pm: That’s it! Kubot is, as they say, “giving it the big ‘un” because he and Melo have won a tight contest over the No 7 seeds 7-6, 6-4.

It means that Nadal and Goffin will be out shortly and a start close to 8pm (although probably more like 10 past) is starting to look on.

7.30pm: Nadal and Goffin are scheduled for “not before 8pm” and it looks like we will be as close to that earliest start time as possible. Lukaz Kubot and Marcelo Melo needed a tie-break to take the first set against Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers and they were up a break in the second – but have just been broken so it’s back on serve at 3-4.

But even if the Croatian-Spanish pairing do level the match, it will be decided by a first-to-10 champions’ tie-break so the chances of it running very long are pretty slim indeed.

Nevertheless, you’ve still got enough time to stick something in the oven and pour yourself a glass of something nice before Nadal gets on court.



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