Rafael Nadal an injury doubt for London — ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic vs Sampras Roger Federer's former coach draws comparison

Novak Djokovic vs Sampras Roger Federer's former coach draws comparison

Given his history of injuries, Nadal listened to advice and did not play his second-round match against Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday. "I had a commitment since one year to play there", Nadal said.

Announcing his withdrawal Nadal said: "My abdominal muscles haven't felt good for the past few days, especially on service. But the race is still there", added Djokovic.

Novak will face Marin Cilic in the battle for the semi-final, winning 15 of 17 matches against the Croat.

It marked the culmination of a dizzying ascent by the Serb, who had slumped to No 22 in the rankings in mid-June, but subsequently won Grand Slams at Wimbledon and the US Open as well as Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai.

He was leading 6-1 2-1 when the Bosnian submitted to a back problem which had flared up in the first set. But the outcome proved to be double disappointment as both matches were cancelled and Nadal's participation at the upcoming Nitto ATP Finals thrown into doubt.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion was visibly frustrated during the first half of the season as his early comeback from injury didn't go as planned. "But the most important thing for me is to be healthy and have the chance to compete weeks in a row.".

"He was playing really well, I remember. Then I'll be able to speak more about it next time we see each other", Djokovic pointed out.

"I'm happy to play tomorrow".

Nadal is optimistic his latest injury will pass, providing he does not rush back. It has been a tough year for me in terms of injury so I want to avoid drastic things.

There were also wins for defending champion Jack Sock Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, Diego Schwartzman and Malek Jaziri. Canada's Milos Raonic came from a set down to reach the second round with a hard-fought 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), win over local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"I can talk about a pain that bothers me overtime that I serve. With my performance today I gave myself the best present I good ask for for tomorrow". He led 6-2, 2-0 against Matthew Ebden when the Australian retired.

Zverev next faces unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov.

Isner beat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (1).

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