Nadal Sets QF Clash With Kyrgios At Indian Wells, Berrettini Bounced

by Staff | March 16th, 2022, 11:19 pm

Rafael Nadal blew a service game early in the second set against the dangerous Reilly Opelka but got the break back and got the job down in two breakers 7-6(3), 7-6(5) to stay perfect on the year and reach the Indian Wells quarterfinals.

Nadal, who is now 18-0 in 2022, dominated the American big man from the baseline, but a careless service game cost the former No. 1 in the second. Nadal limited Opelka to just nine aces while cracking six himself.

“He is one of the toughest opponents on Tour,” Nadal said on court. “It is very tough to control his weapons with his serve and forehand. I think I played my best match of the tournament so far today. I am very pleased with how I was able to win the match, with two difficult tie-breaks. This victory means a lot to me.

“I think I played well,” he said. “It is difficult because you need to find the right balance. When you are playing points from the baseline you think you can’t miss because you won’t have a lot of opportunities. So you need to find the balance to not allow him to come in and not taking big risks.”

Nadal will return tomorrow to face Nick Kyrgios in a mega quarterfinal collision. Kyrgios didn’t have to hit a ball today as his foe, Jannik Sinner, woke up sick.

Nadal has won five of eight including the last two, but they haven’t met in over two years.

“Nick is playing great,” Nadal said. “He is one of the toughest opponents on Tour. Everyone knows how good he is when he is motivated. It is going to be a good test for me and good challenge. I am excited to be in the quarterfinals.”

Nadal won’t will be joined in the quarterfinals by countryman Carlos Alcaraz who continued his ascent blasting past Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-1 to become the youngest Indian Wells quarterfinalist since Michael Chang in 1989.

“It means a lot to me,” said Alcaraz who is into his first Masters quarters. “It’s really special to be in the quarterfinals in a Masters 1000. I’m really proud of the level that I’m playing this tournament. I love this tournament and being in the quarterfinals here is pretty good.”

Alcaraz will now get defending champion Cameron Norrie who ended Jenson Brooksby’s run with a 6-2, 6-4 win over the steady American. Brooksby led 3-0 in the second before Norrie took four straight games, then the last two from 4-all after getting broken back. He’ll return tomorrow night to face the teen.

In the bottom half, Miomir Kecmanovic stunned Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 to reach his second Indian Wells quarterfinal.

Kecmanovic will now face Taylor Fritz who reached his third straight Masters quarters after a second straight final set breaker win.

Fritz outlasted Alex De Minaur 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).

“I’m really not a big fan of playing de Minuar,” said Fritz who reached the Indian Wells semifinals last fall. “Now I come out on the court, he’s on the baseline hitting everything so flat and low. The first set I really just couldn’t time the ball. Going from two extremes, different players, it really was tough for me.

“In the end I knew what was working for me and just kind of battled through it.”

Grigor Dimitrov has found his form again dismissing former finalist John Isner 6-3, 7-6(6). Dimitrov will now face the red-hot Andrey Rublev who ran his current win streak to 12 after getting through Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(5), 6-4.

Fritz-Kecmanovic and Rublev-Dmitrov will be played on Friday. Rublev is the lone Top 15 seed left in the bottom half.

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [6] M. Sakkari (GRE) vs [17] E. Rybakina (KAZ)
WTA – [5] P. Badosa (ESP) vs [21] V. Kudermetova
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [4] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [WC] N. Kyrgios (AUS)
Not Before 6:00 pm
ATP – [19] C. Alcaraz (ESP) vs [12] C. Norrie (GBR)
ATP – [7] W. Koolhof (NED) / N. Skupski (GBR) vs [2] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR)

STADIUM 2 start 3:00 pm
ATP – [PR] S. Gonzalez (MEX) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs A. Karatsev / A. Rublev
Not Before 5:00 PM
WTA – [5] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / G. Olmos (MEX) vs [7] A. Muhammad (USA) / E. Shibahara (JPN)
Not Before 7:00 PM
WTA – Y. Xu (CHN) / Z. Yang (CHN) vs A. Cornet (FRA) / L. Fernandez (CAN)

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9 Comments for Nadal Sets QF Clash With Kyrgios At Indian Wells, Berrettini Bounced

skeezer Says:

Rafa vs Nick? Gotta see dat!

fred stone Says:

If Nadal tries that gamesmanship he showed against Korda (making him wait to receive serve, and making him wait when he(Korda)was serving,not looking forward to that at all.

Zed Says:

Fred, it’s OK when he does it because … well just because.

Ask Shapovalov what he thinks about it.

Giles Says:

Well done Champ! Beating that loser is music to my ears! Vamos!

skeezer Says:

It was an entertaining match. Nick decided to play well this tourney, too bad his antics once again held him back. As far as Rafa, what can one say? He held his emotions in check and dealt with the matter at hand. Congrats.

Zed Says:

Agree with him or disagree with him (and I disagree with him) his attitude is one of “I’m prepared to compromise my life to some extent so I can make some good money and win some matches here and there, but I’m not prepared to give up everything in exchange for being at the top”.

If you see how well he can sometimes play you could be tempted to think he could be one of the all time greats if only he gave it his all.

However, I’m not entirely convinced. I’m not sure of course, but I have a niggling suspicion that he “pre-excuses” himself for not winning tournaments.

In other words, “I don’t think I can be in the top 5 so what I’ll do is pretend like I don’t even want to be there, like I’m a bit above it all. That way when I don’t get there, which I won’t, it won’t be because I wasn’t good enough, it’ll be because I was too cool to care”.

The melting pot of variables that it takes to be one of the greats has a million ingredients thrown in. Players like the big three, Sampras, Murray, etc don’t just have special bodies, they also have special minds.

skeezer Says:

Wow Fritz in a final. Congrats!

chrisford1 Says:

Kind of a vintage year at Indian Wells for tennis. All kinds of good stories.
Andy Murray trying, but it is not there for him anymore. Naomi Osaka once again having some racially connected emotion issues. Monfils trying to show he is more than a performance artist, becoming serious about winning late in his career.
With Serena like Andy – it seems her time is over – Woman’s tennis is finally back to being about competitive championships, not Williams sisters coronation ceremonies. It’s new faces and new talents. Good final matchup for the women, Swiatek & Zakkari.

And while I am not happy about Novak going off the reservation again , I am glad that Rafa has made full use of that gift to play without his nemesis around. Nadal has given tennis and his fans everything they have asked for. Thrilling match after match against the younger players, the players that will be the stars when Nadal and Djokovic fade. Clearly, Nadal is not ready to fade away, yet.

Ahfi Says:

Can’t remember the last time Venus was anywhere near a final in any tournament.

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