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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov

Rafael Nadal has drawn Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin and Dominic Thiem in his round-robin group for the ATP World Tour Finals.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Rafael Nadal will confront a cranky knee and familiar foes at the ATP World Tour Finals.

The world No. 1 has drawn Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin and Dominic Thiem in his round-robin group for the eight-man event at London’s O2 Arena.

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Roger Federer heads the Boris Becker Group that features Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Paris Masters champion Jack Sock, the eighth man to qualify for the field.

Round-robin play begins on Sunday.

The top two finishers in each group will advance to the World Tour Finals semifinals.

Playing with taping around his right knee in Paris last week, Nadal eventually withdrew from the Rolex Paris Masters due to knee tendinitis. His doctor said the top seed and his team is committed to "do everything possible" to play London.

"We have done and are going to do everything possible," Dr. Angel Ruiz Cotorro told Cope radio yesterday. "He was worried and we did a series of tests, but there was nothing serious detected in his tendon. 

"You have to be optimistic (about playing London), but also realistic faced with this situation at the end of an extraordinary season. You have to be careful. Health takes priority."

Nadal owns a combined 17-3 record against competitors in the Pete Sampras Group of the season-ending tournament.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion is 10-1 vs. Dimitrov, including an epic five-set semifinal victory at the Australian Open in January and a pair of three-set wins in Beijing and Shanghai.

The US Open champion has not dropped a set to Goffin in their two meetings, both contested on clay. Nadal has won five of seven meetings vs. Thiem with all seven matches staged on red clay.

Nadal has yet to win the ATP World Tour Finals. The 31-year-old Spaniard was runner-up to Federer in 2010 and fell to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 season-ending final.

The tournament will host a rematch of the Wimbledon final featuring Federer against Cilic, whom he thrashed 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, collecting his 19th Grand Slam title at SW19. Federer has won seven of eight meetings with Cilic with the Croatian’s lone victory coming in the 2014 US Open semifinals. Their last three encounters have come in Grand Slam play.

Six-time World Tour Finals champion Federer is bidding for his first season-ending championship since 2011 when he stopped Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.

Federer’s biggest challenge in round-robin play could come from Zverev.

The third-ranked German has split four career meetings with the Wimbledon champion, including a 6-3, 6-4, sweep in the Rogers Cup final in August.

The 36-year-old Swiss has won all six sets he’s played against Sock with all three matches on hard courts.


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