Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz played their second duel in the Indian Wells semi-final. Two Spaniard trained ahead of the tournament and scored four victories each to set the semi-final duel. They turned it into an open war, and Nadal prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 after three hours and 12 minutes!
It was Rafa’s 20th victory from as many matches in 2022, digging deep against an 18-year-old and emerging at the top to reach his fourth consecutive final. Two Spaniards pushed each other to the limits in challenging and almost unplayable conditions.
Nadal won four points more than Alcaraz and seized six out of 21 break opportunities to emerge at the top. Carlos defended 15 break points and stole Rafa’s serve five times, fighting like a warrior in his first Masters 1000 semi-final but finishing on the losing side.
Nadal had a slight advantage in the more extended rallies. However, there was nothing to separate them except that late break that the older Spaniard grabbed in the final set. Rafa served at 79% in the opener, but that barely brought him anything in windy conditions.
He lost 13 out of 28 points behind the initial shot and suffered two breaks from as many chances offered to the youngster. On the other hand, Carlos experienced a rollercoaster ride in his games. A teenager offered the more experienced player no less than 17 break chances and defended 14!
Still, three return games were enough for Rafa to claim the opener 6-4 and move closer to the finish line. Alcaraz fired a forehand winner in the encounter’s first point and cracked a booming backhand crosscourt winner for an early break.
A teenager defended five break points in the second game and closed it with a smash winner to cement the lead and move 2-0 up. A three-time champion broke back in game four after the rival’s loose forehand to lock the result at 2-2 after grueling 27 minutes.
Nadal held at 30 in game five to establish the lead and came from 40-15 down in the next one to break the young gun with a forehand return winner. Rafa claimed four straight games but got broken at 4-2 after a forced volley mistake to keep the rival on the positive side.
Rafael Nadal overpowered Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells semi-final.
An 18-year-old worked hard in the eighth game, fending off four break points to lock the result at 4-4. Nadal left those chances behind and held at 15 in game nine with a service winner.
The veteran pushed strong on the return again in game ten and earned five break chances. Carlos fended off the first four before spraying a backhand slice error on the fifth to propel Rafa into a 6-4 lead after 66 minutes!
The second set kicked off with four good holds. The servers lost ground after that and experienced five consecutive breaks, as it became impossible to hold serve in challenging conditions. The ninth game turned out to be epic, and Alcaraz seized the seventh break chance after a brilliant lob winner that pushed him 5-4 in front.
The youngster served for the set in game ten and held after deuce to force a decider with two hours and 21 minutes on the clock! Players barely lost a couple of points in their games in the final set’s first four games before Rafa faced troubles at 2-2.
Giving his everything, the veteran battled past three break points and held after an extended rally for a massive boost. The older Spaniard held after deuce with a service winner at 3-3, with three hours and two minutes on the clock!
Nadal secured a crucial break at 4-3 with a volley winner and served for the victory in the next one. Holding his nerves, Rafa fired a service winner in game nine to seal the deal and advance into his 53rd Masters 1000 final after an epic battle.
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