London, November 14: Belgium's first-time qualifier David Goffin sprung a surprise beating world number one Rafael Nadal 7-6 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-4 at the ATP Finals on Tuesday (November 14).
Meanwhile, Nadal pulled out of the ATP Finals. Spain's world number 10 Pablo Careeno Busta will replace his compatriot in the tournament.
Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the #NittoATPFinals. Pablo Carreno Busta takes his place as an alternate.— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) November 13, 2017
Nadal's fighting spirit and Goffin's frayed nerves stretched the match into a third hour but the underdog finally took his chance to claim a first career win over the 16-time Grand Slam champion.
Spaniard Nadal was moving freely enough for the first half of the match, even if the fizz was missing from his strokes, but by the end he appeared to be playing on one leg as the knee injury was clearly causing him pain.
With the year-end number one ranking already in the bag, it would now appear extremely unlikely that Nadal will complete his round-robin matches.
He is still due to play Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem.
Eighth-ranked Goffin, the first man from Belgium to qualify for the ATP Finals, seemed to have blown his chance when four match points came and went in the second set, but he broke twice to pull away into a 4-1 lead in the decider.
Again Nadal dug deep to claw back one of the breaks but this time Goffin held his nerve at 5-4 to claim victory with an ace on his fifth match point.