TURIN (AP) - Taylor Fritz stunned Rafa Nadal 7-6(3) 6-1 to make a winning debut at the ATP Finals in Turin while Norway’s Casper Ruud kick-started the round-robin stage earlier on Sunday with a win over Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Spanish top seed Nadal arrived in Italy having only competed in one singles match since his fourth-round U.S. Open loss two months ago and his lack of recent competition showed as he was unable to keep pace with Fritz as the match wore on.
Nadal grabbed a 6-5 lead in the opening set when he held to love for a fifth time but then lost the opening three points of the tiebreaker and could not find his way back.
After neither player dropped serve in the first set, Fritz broke early in the second for a 3-1 lead and again to pull ahead 5-1 before closing out the match on his next service game when Nadal sent a forehand long.
For Fritz, the victory marked his first over a top-three opponent in 12 attempts and improved him to 2-2 in head-to-head meetings with Nadal having beaten him at Indian Wells in March.
Canadian Auger-Aliassime has been in sublime form at the end of the season, winning three tournaments in a row before a semi-final run at the Paris Masters, but was not at his best while falling 7-6(4) 6-4 to Ruud.