Rafael Nadal experienced a tough test in the Indian Wells quarter-final. The Spaniard refused to lose for the first time in 2022 following a 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Nick Kyrgios in two hours and 46 minutes. Nadal advanced to his 76th Masters 1000 semi-final and secured the 19th victory from as many encounters this season.
Kyrgios gave his best against the better-ranked opponent, as always in the past. The Aussie served for the opening set and suffered only two breaks to push the rival to the limits. Nadal stayed calm and prevailed with a break in the final set that carried him into the last four.
Rafa won only two points more than Nick, and there was nothing to separate them in the shortest and more advanced exchanges. Kyrgios fired six service winners more than Nadal. However, that was not enough to carry him home despite an excellent performance in his first Masters 1000 quarter-final since Cincinnati 2017.
Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios in three tight sets in Indian Wells.
After wasting his chances in the opener, the Aussie lost the tie break 7-0 for a complete meltdown. Still, he remained focused in the rest of the match, despite throwing his racquet and arguing with the chair umpire.
Nadal hit a double fault in the encounter’s third game to suffer a break and push the opponent in front. Nick held after deuce with mighty forehands in the next one to confirm the lead and opened a 4-2 gap with a booming ace down the T line in game six.
The Aussie cracked a forehand down the line winner in game eight and served for the opener at 5-4. Nadal earned the first break chance of the match in the last moment and seized it after the rival’s loose forehand to level the score at 5-5 and extend the battle.
Losing ground in those moments, Nick lost the tie break 7-0 after a code violation and a point penalty. Unlike in the past, the Aussie kept his composure in the rest of the clash. He served well in set number two and kept the pressure on the other side.
Rafa delivered five fine holds and served to introduce the second tie break at 5-6. Kyrgios broke him at 15 with a behind-the-back backhand volley winner to take the set 7-5 and force a decider after an hour and 56 minutes.
Nadal saved two break points in the final set’s second game in one of the crucial moments of the entire clash. Kyrgios survived the fifth game to stay on the positive side before hitting a double fault at 3-3 to ruin his chances.
Nadal held at love with a forehand winner for 5-3 and emerged at the top with a smash winner in game ten for a place in the last four.
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