Taylor Fritz stunned Rafael Nadal on his ATP Finals debut on Sunday, producing a powerful display to beat the 22-time grand slam winner 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in the duo's group-stage opener.
The American put Nadal under pressure from the off in Turin, failing to give up a single break point as he dominated on his own serve to take the 36-year-old to a tie-break in the opening set.
Nadal allowed Fritz to seize the initiative with a double fault at the start of that tie-break, and the American grasped his opportunity by clinching the first set with a big forehand winner.
The top seed's struggles continued into the second set as Fritz, moving well and dictating proceedings from the baseline, claimed the match's first break four games in before going 5-1 up by repeating the trick in a back-and-forth sixth game.
Fritz then wrapped up the win with another dominant display of serving, clinching his second victory over Nadal and denting the Spaniard's bid to win a title that has eluded him throughout his illustrious career.
Having been beaten by Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters and Frances Tiafoe at the US Open, Nadal has now suffered three consecutive defeats, and he must bounce back when he faces Felix Auger-Aliassime on Tuesday.
Nadal – 7/4
Fritz – 8/1
Nadal – 18/4
Fritz – 23/2
BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 0/0
Fritz – 2/9