Nitto ATP Finals: Rafael Nadal becomes first qualifier for the O2

The world number one will head back to London this fall in search for a first-ever year-end finals victory.

Nitto ATP Finals: Rafael Nadal becomes first qualifier for the O2
Rafael Nadal's victory over Marin Cilic clinched his spot at the Tour Finals in London (Icon Sportwire/Getty Images)

World number one Rafael Nadal has officially clinched a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Arena this fall. The Spaniard escaped with a narrow victory against Marin Cilic last night at the Rogers Cup, clinching his berth in London as well as a spot in the semifinal against Karen Khachanov

No Signs Of Slowing Down

Nadal started his season at the Australian Open and was looking for a strong start to the season. His season ended in the fifth set of his quarterfinal match after retiring with a psoas injury against Cilic. The injury kept him out of tennis until the clay season where he was utterly dominant again. 

The 32-year-old captured an 11th title in Monte Carlo to start the clay season and followed it up with number 11 in Barcelona. A loss in Madrid to eventual runner-up Dominic Thiem was his lone loss in the clay season which was followed by an 8th title in Rome followed by a third Undécima of the clay season by claiming an unprecedented 11th French Open title. 

Nadal all smiles after finishing his clay season with yet another French Open crown
Nadal all smiles after finishing his clay season with yet another French Open crown (Mike Frey/Getty Images)
 

After another long clay season, Nadal skipped the lead-up to the grass and went straight to Wimbledon. This year, Nadal enjoyed his best Wimbledon since his run to the finals in 2011 by making the semifinals. The Spaniard had a thrilling encounter with Juan Martin del Potro and then another epic match with Novak Djokovic which he was on the wrong end of. 

In that match, Nadal had points to go up two sets to one in the third set tiebreak before they called off the match due to the city curfew. The match resumed Saturday with Nadal claiming the fourth set before the Serb displayed some vintage tennis to claw from break points down to win the match and later on, the Wimbledon crown. 

Nadal now resumes his hard court warm-up at the Rogers Cup where he looks to add his record-setting 32 Masters titles.