Injury-hit world No1 Rafael Nadal suffered a first ever defeat to Belgian David Goffin in his opening match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Monday night.
Nadal mustered a gutsy display at the O2 despite appearing to be severely hampered by a knee injury but eventually succumbed to Goffin 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes.
The 16-time grand slam winner had been a doubt for the season-ending tournament and his discomfort against Goffin raised questions about whether he will be fit to play his remaining two round-robin matches this week. Fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta is on standby to step in.
“It was a tough fight until the end,” said Goffin. “Rafa is one of the strongest players mentally on the tour. I am so happy to finally find the key to win this match. It is so special to do it here.”
Earlier in the same group, Grigor Dimitrov beat Swiss world No4 Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
Britain’s Jamie Murray and playing partner Bruno Soares lost their opening match in the doubles competition 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 10-8 to American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan.
Six-time ATP Finals winner Roger Federer meets world No3 Alexander Zverev, who won their opening matches on Sunday, meet on Tuesday evening.
Croatian Marin Cilic faces American Jack Sock in the afternoon match.