December 13, 2013
Federer and Nadal pushed all the way at Tour finals
A sickly Rafa Nadal was pushed to the limit by Mardy Fish in his opening match at the ATP World Tour Finals before joining great rival and defending champion Roger Federer at the top of Group B.
The Spaniard, playing his first competitive match after a month long lay-off, needed nearly three hours and a rush to the toilet because of a "terrible stomach" to subdue the American tournament debutant, winning a late-night thriller 6-2 3-6 7-6.
Federer began the season-ending championships, being held in London's dazzling O2 Arena for the third of five years, with victory over French powerhouse Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, although he was also given a scare in a 6-2 2-6 6-4 victory which raced by in 88 minutes of high-octane hitting.
After ripping through the first set in 21 minutes, world number four Federer, bidding for a record sixth title at the ATP's blue riband tournament in his 10th appearance, lost his way and Tsonga threatened a repeat of his victory over the Swiss maestro in this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals.
On that occasion Tsonga floored 16-times grand slam champion Federer from two sets to love down but this time he could not complete his fightback, cracking in the 10th game of the decider to Federer's obvious relief.