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ATP Supervisor Carlos Sanches Honoured At Portuguese Sports Awards

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

ATP Supervisor Carlos Sanches Honoured At Portuguese Sports Awards

Portuguese has worked on the ATP Tour since 2006

Carlos Sanches is a familiar face at tournaments around the world. The ATP Supervisor keeps things running behind the scenes while the on-court action headlines the show.

In January it was the turn of the Sanches’ hard work in the background to be recognised as he was named Tennis Personality of the Year at the Gala Do Desporto, considered the most prestigious sports awards in his homeland.

“Of course, I’m proud to get this award,” Sanches told this week. “This is like a recognition of my career and [while] it was important to [me] personally, [it is] also important for officiating. It’s not about me, but the work.

“[It was a] special recognition to put my name on that award. Normally we [supervisors] don’t show up, we are behind the curtain, so it was something new.

“I had the support of the Portuguese Tennis Federation which was important, and it was thanks to them also because they knew my career and they wanted me to be selected for this award.”

Sanches enjoyed a brief change of scene at the glamourous ceremony, which is held annually and shown live on Portuguese television. “It was the first time I went to awards like this, and it was a nice experience seeing so many people,” he said. “It was packed, there were crowds, all important people around that were invited for different sports. It was a very good experience.”

Sanches started his career as a chair umpire before he became a tournament supervisor for the ATP Challenger Tour in 2001. In 2006 he moved onto the ATP Tour, where he has worked ever since.

All this experience means Sanches is well-placed to identify some basic principles for good officiating. “Always be fair, make the right judgements at the right time,” he said. “Be calm, try to have good communication with players and with the tournaments. Those are the qualities I think an official needs to have.”

Like everyone else on tour, Sanches is used to life on the road. In 2022 he has already worked in Adelaide, Cordoba, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro, and he now looks forward to the European clay-court swing. The travel schedule can be tough, but he enjoys the variety the tour brings. “I think all [the places] have something special,” Sanches said, “And it’s [just] part of our job.”

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Raducanu Praises 'Role Model' Murray

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

Raducanu Praises ‘Role Model’ Murray

WTA star Raducanu and Murray both feature on day four in Indian Wells

WTA star Emma Raducanu is riding high following a memorable and historic past six months.

The 19-year-old became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title when she triumphed at the US Open in September, which saw her finish the 2021 season in the Top 20 of the WTA Rankings.

The Brit then earned her maiden win at an WTA 1000 event on Friday when she defeated Caroline Garcia at the BNP Paribas Open.

Ahead of her third-round match in Indian Wells on Sunday, Raducanu praised the inspirational role former Would No. 1 and fellow Brit Andy Murray has played in her development.

“He has been supportive for sure,” Raducanu said. “I know one time when I was just practising, I managed to hit with him. I was so nervous. I was moving my feet so fast just to try and keep up.

“I think he’s just such a great role model for me and everyone, from the UK, and also across the world. 700 wins is something I can just dream of. I think I’ve won three now, so I have a long way to go.”

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Murray Milestone: Briton Reaches 700 Career Wins

Raducanu beat Garcia in three sets Friday, while former World No. 1 Murray became just the fourth active ATP player to earn 700 tour-level wins when he overcame Taro Daniel.

Raducanu followed Murray onto court on Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, allowing her to keep an eye on the 46-time tour-level titlist in action as he made more history.

“I think Andy is such a class player,” Raducanu said. “The way he can put the ball in places that you just don’t want. I think that’s a great skill to have.

“I definitely looked up to him today [Friday] especially because I was following him. I knew he came through some tricky moments. I was thinking the same when I dropped the second set. I was like, ‘You can do the same, just keep pushing’.”

In a stacked order of play on Sunday, Raducanu and Murray will face Petra Martic and Alexander Bublik respectively. Raducanu will be aiming to reach the fourth round at a WTA 1000 event for the first time, while Murray will look to continue to build momentum at a tournament he reached the final at in 2009.

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Korda Positive Despite Loss To ‘Incredible Fighter’ Nadal

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

Korda Positive Despite Loss To ‘Incredible Fighter’ Nadal

#NextGenATP American sits at career-high No. 38 in ATP Rankings

It was so close, yet so far for Sebastian Korda in Indian Wells on Saturday.

The 21-year-old American held a 5-2 lead with a double break in the deciding set of his second-round match with Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open, but the Spaniard showed trademark grit to secure a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(3) comeback victory on Stadium 1.

Despite the disappointment of defeat, Korda was pleased with how he pushed the 21-time Grand Slam champion, who has still not lost a match in 2022.

“It is what it is,” the World No. 38 said in his post-match press conference. “I played a really good match, brought out the best in me, put him in a tough situation. But he does what he does best and always comes back and fights. I mean, it sucks, but overall, very happy.

“He’s an incredible fighter. Probably one of the greatest fighters of all time.”

Such a measured reaction to a tough loss reflects a wise head on young shoulders, and Korda’s general calm demeanour has become a stand-out feature of his rise up the ATP Rankings. The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up believes maintaining this approach, even when the going gets tough, is key to producing his best tennis on a consistent basis.

“I think I do a pretty good job in 99% of my matches,” said the American. “Occasionally I’ll get a little upset and I’ll show some emotion. But usually, I’m pretty good with just staying calm and staying on course. I thank my mom a lot for that. Whenever I started playing tennis, she kind of put the poker face in me and just told myself to always stay calm and always show some good emotions, never be negative.

“I think I use it really well. I don’t think my opponents really know what’s going on in my head at any point in the match. I think it’s a really big tool for me.”


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As he seeks further improvements in just his second full season on the ATP Tour, Korda will draw on his strong showing against Nadal to give him belief when facing the biggest names.

“I kind of proved to myself that I can play with anyone,” said Korda. “I have a really big game. Now I just have to use the momentum that I built here and keep working hard, and just try and break that barrier of beating the top-level players.”

That also applies to any potential future meetings with Nadal himself, a player Korda describes as his “idol in tennis.” The 2021 Parma champion had the chance to spend more time with the legendary Spaniard this week, the pair playing a practice set before Korda’s first-round victory against Thanasi Kokkinakis.

“Every single time I practice with him or play with him, I feel I’m getting better and better,” said Korda. “It’s progress. He’s one of the greatest players of all time right now. He’s super hot, hasn’t lost a match this year. To kind of push him to the edge was awesome. Shows a lot of my game, how dangerous it can be against tough opponents.

“To be that close, it’s a lot of positives. It shows me that my game is going to hurt a lot of people. People are going to get nervous. People are going to get worried.”

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Fritz/Paul Hold Nerve To Edge Alcaraz/Carreno Busta In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

Fritz/Paul Hold Nerve To Edge Alcaraz/Carreno Busta In Indian Wells

Granollers/Zeballos through in straight sets

The home crowds continue to inspire the American doubles pairings at the BNP Paribas Open.

On Saturday it was the turn of Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul to thrill the local fans as they came out on top in a blockbuster first-round encounter with Spanish stars Carlos Alcaraz and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Just like John Isner and Jack Sock did in their Friday upset of top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, Fritz and Paul had to hold their nerve in a Match Tie-break. They surged to a 9-5 lead before shutting down a mini comeback from their opponents by converting their fourth match point.

The Americans’ serving game was on fire throughout in the 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-7 victory. According to Infosys ATP Stats, Fritz and Paul won 78 per cent (38/49) points behind first serves and saved all four break points they faced.


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Third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos got their campaign off to a solid start as the Spanish-Argentinian pairing beat Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin 6-4, 6-4.

The four-time ATP Masters 1000 champions fired eight aces and saved all three break points they faced as a break in each set was enough to see them through to a second-round clash with Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev.

Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer continued their electric form as they knocked out fifth seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek with a 3-6, 6-2, 11-9 victory.

El Salvadorian Arevalo and Dutchman Rojer came into the match having lost just once in their past three tournaments. They clinched their first two ATP Tour titles together in Dallas and Delray Beach in February before reaching the final in Acapulco.

Peers and Polasek surged to the first set but then fell away as they were constantly put under pressure on serve. Arevalo and Rojer carved out nine break point opportunities in the match, converting six of them, and now face Andrey Golubev and Alexander Zverev in the second round.

There were no such problems for sixth seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus, who breezed past Polish pairing Hubert Hurkacz and Lukasz Kubot 6-2, 6-2 to set a second-round clash with Acapulco champions Feliciano Lopez and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Puetz and Venus have also already picked up a title in 2022, lifting the trophy in Dubai. The pair is seeking a second Masters 1000 title after winning the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters.

Argentinian pairing Andres Molteni and Diego Schwartzman also advanced on Saturday, beating Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic 6-3, 7-5.

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Day 4 Preview: Berrettini Faces Rune Test, Felix & Rublev Begin Title Bids

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

Day 4 Preview: Berrettini Faces Rune Test, Felix & Rublev Begin Title Bids

Murray & Zverev also in action

Over the coming week, sixth seed Matteo Berrettini will look to crack the ATP Masters 1000 code for the first time when he takes to court at the BNP Paribas Open, starting against #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune on Sunday.

The Italian has won five tour-level titles across ATP 500 and 250 level and advanced to the final at Wimbledon last season. However, the World No. 6 has yet to lift a Masters 1000 trophy, with his best run coming in Madrid in 2021 when he reached the championship match.

The Australian Open semi-finalist, who has never been beyond the third round in three previous appearances in Indian Wells, faces a tricky opening test against qualifier Rune on Stadium 1 in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

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Rune enjoyed a breakthrough 2021 season as he captured four ATP Challenger Tour crowns and competed at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. The 18-year-old, currently at a career-high No. 86 in the ATP Rankings, earned his maiden Masters 1000 main draw win when he breezed past Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the first round.

“[The] next match is a huge test against Berrettini, so it’s going to be fun to see how it’s going to go,” Rune said when he was asked about taking on the 25-year-old. “For sure he’s a great player, one of the best in the world right now, so it’s going to be fun. Let’s see what happens.”

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime will look to maintain his red-hot start to the season in the California desert as he begins his bid for a first Masters 1000 title.

Auger-Aliassime arrives in Indian Wells 15-4 on the season, having helped guide Canada to the ATP Cup title in January, before he clinched his maiden tour-level trophy in Rotterdam last month. The 21-year-old also advanced to the final in Marseille and reached the last eight at the Australian Open for the first time.

The ninth seed will carry a 1-0 ATP Head2Head series lead into his match against Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp on Stadium 4.


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Andrey Rublev will look to reach the third round in Indian Wells for the third consecutive time when he takes on German Dominik Koepfer on Stadium 3. The World No. 7 has regained his top form in the past month, soaring to back-to-back titles in Marseille and Dubai.

The 24-year-old, who has won five ATP 500 crowns, takes a 1-0 ATP Head2Head lead into his clash against World No. 51 Koepfer and is happy to be back in Indian Wells.

“I like the atmosphere here,” Rublev said in his pre-tournament interview. “The place is beautiful and relaxed. I am renting a house, which will be chilled with my team. It is nice being in front of the mountains.”

Third seed Alexander Zverev is aiming to clinch his first title of the year at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The German reached the quarter-finals at the hard-court tournament in 2021 and will open against Tommy Paul on Stadium 1, with the American leading their ATP Head2Head series 1-0.

“It is the first Masters of the year and one of the prettiest ones we have,” the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion said in his pre-tournament interview. “I think it is an event everyone enjoys. I am going into the tournament with the right mindset, so hopefully that will help. I’ve got to get my form back and start winning these tournaments.”

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray created more history on Friday when he earned his 700th tour-level win. The Scot, who reached the final in Indian Wells in 2009, battled past Taro Daniel to set up a third meeting against Alexander Bublik, with Murray leading the 24-year-old 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.

“This was a target I sort of set myself at the back end of last year,” Murray said following his 700th victory. “It’s a lot of wins. Obviously very happy to get it here, and let’s go for 800 now. “It does mean a lot to me because I know how difficult it’s been, certainly the past few years.”

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The World No. 20 Taylor Fritz will lead the American charge on home soil on Sunday, facing Pole Kamil Majchrzak on Stadium 3. Fritz has fond memories in Indian Wells, having reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final at the event in 2021.

Two all-American clashes will see #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima take on 28th seed Frances Tiafoe, while wild card Sam Querrey plays John Isner.

Grigor Dimitrov enjoyed a run to the last four in Indian Wells last season and will open his 2022 campaign against Australian Jordan Thompson on Stadium 4. The 14th seed Diego Schwartzman faces Emil Ruusuvuori, Marin Cilic plays Miomir Kecmanovic and Aslan Karatsev takes on American wild card Steve Johnson.

In doubles action, Australian Open champions Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios meet wild cards Isner and Jack Sock, while ATP Tour singles youngsters Sebastian Korda and Jannik Sinner play fourth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.


STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [11] E. Raducanu (GBR) vs P. Martic (CRO)
WTA – [3] I. Swiatek (POL) vs [29] C. Tauson (DEN)
ATP – [6] M. Berrettini (ITA) vs [Q] H. Rune (DEN)

Not Before 6:00 PM
WTA – [24] S. Halep (ROU) vs [16] C. Gauff (USA)
ATP – T. Paul (USA) vs [3] A. Zverev (GER)

STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
ATP – [WC] S. Querrey (USA) vs [23] J. Isner (USA)
ATP – [31] A. Bublik (KAZ) vs [WC] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 3:00 PM
WTA – [25] M. Keys (USA) vs A. Riske (USA)

Not Before 6:00 pm
ATP – [WC] J. Isner (USA) / J. Sock (USA) vs [WC] T. Kokkinakis (AUS) / N. Kyrgios (AUS)

Not Before 8:00 PM
WTA – [23] D. Kasatkina vs [15] A. Kerber (GER)

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
ATP – [7] A. Rublev vs D. Koepfer (GER)
ATP – K. Majchrzak (POL) vs [20] T. Fritz (USA)
WTA – [DA SR] L. Siegemund (GER) / V. Zvonareva vs [OSE] A. Cornet (FRA) / L. Fernandez (CAN)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – B. Nakashima (USA) vs [28] F. Tiafoe (USA)
WTA – [8] C. Dolehide (USA) / S. Sanders (AUS) vs [OSE] M. Keys (USA) / J. Pegula (USA)

STADIUM 4 start 11:00 am
ATP – [22] A. Karatsev vs [WC] S. Johnson (USA)
ATP – B. van de Zandschulp (NED) vs [9] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
WTA – [Q] H. Dart (GBR) vs K. Kanepi (EST)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – J. Thompson (AUS) vs [33] G. Dimitrov (BUL)
ATP – [4] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs S. Korda (USA) / J. Sinner (ITA)

STADIUM 5 start 11:00 am
ATP – [24] M. Cilic (CRO) vs M. Kecmanovic (SRB)
ATP – [14] D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs E. Ruusuvuori (FIN)
ATP – [29] A. de Minaur (AUS) vs [LL] J. Millman (AUS)
ATP – [16] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [Q] J. Munar (ESP)
ATP – [7] W. Koolhof (NED) / N. Skupski (GBR) vs F. Delbonis (ARG) / C. Norrie (GBR)

STADIUM 6 start 11:00 am
WTA – [28] L. Samsonova vs D. Kovinic (MNE)
Second Round – ATP – O. Otte (GER) vs [11] H. Hurkacz (POL)
WTA – [LL] A. Kalinskaya vs [26] S. Cirstea (ROU)
Second Round – ATP – [WC] F. Lopez (ESP) / S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [6] T. Puetz (GER) / M. Venus (NZL)
First Round – ATP – K. Krawietz (GER) / A. Mies (GER) vs [2] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR)

STADIUM 9 start 11:00 am
ATP – [PR] S. Gonzalez (MEX) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs S. Gille (BEL) / M. Middelkoop (NED)
ATP – [8] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Shapovalov (CAN)
ATP – F. Bagnis (ARG) vs [30] L. Harris (RSA)
WTA – [6] D. Krawczyk (USA) / D. Schuurs (NED) vs M. Bouzkova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE)
WTA – E. Hozumi (JPN) / M. Ninomiya (JPN) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)

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Tsitsipas Survives Sock Scare

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

Tsitsipas Survives Sock Scare

Greek was clutch in both tie-breaks

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas came within two points of defeat in a bruising battle with Jack Sock to claw his way into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open Saturday night.

Sock, who had crushed 28 forehand winners to be on the cusp of his first Top 10 win since 2017, had the match on his racquet serving at 5/4 in the third-set tie-break. But as happened in the first-set-tie-break, his lack of recent big-match experience told when the chips were down, and he made two unforced errors to let Tsitsipas back in, the Greek closing out the match 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(5).

”It was a crazy battle; we both left everything out there,” Tsitsipas said. “Jack played incredibly well at times but I was able to bring out the best in my game at the end. I proved I could play aggressive tennis and stay calm at the same time.”

Tsitsipas will next meet another American, the fast-rising Jenson Brooksby, who claimed an emphatic 6-0, 6-3 win over Olympic silver medallist Karen Khachanov. Former World No. 1 and Tennis Channel commentator Jim Courier says that such is Brooksby’s form, that the 21-year-old will start favourite against the World No. 5 Greek.

The fifth seed walked onto Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden more than 140 places higher that the American in the ATP Rankings. But Sock’s forehand, at its best, ranks second to none. The Greek had just one mission: keep the ball away from the American’s forehand at all costs. Easier said than done.

Sock crushed his forehand throughout the match and had his chances to take the first set tie-break before unforced errors brought him undone. He powered through the second set and then dug himself out of a 0/40 hole at 5-6 in the third set to fight off three match points and force a tie-break. But from a 5/4 lead in the ‘breaker, two unforced errors again cost the 29-year-old dearly.

In other results Saturday, Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner broke serve four times in a 6-3, 6-3 win over Serb Laslo Djere, but the former Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion will be looking to improve on serve ahead of his third-round meeting with Benjamin Bonzi. The 20-year-old put just 45 per cent of first serves into play as he improved to 12-2 on the season. Bonzi defeated Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-4.

Despite serving up nine double faults, World No. 13 Denis Shapovalov rallied from a set down to defeat Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 12-6 on the season. The Canadian saved 11 of 14 break points faced and next meets top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, who did not face a break point in his 6-1, 6-4 win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti.


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Defending champion Cameron Norrie recovered from an early break in the opening set to claim a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win over Pedro Martinez. The Brit next plays Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, who received a walkover from Italian Fabio Fognini (illness).

Gael Monfils set up a third-round meeting with World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev after firing 13 aces in a 6-3, 6-4 win over Serb Filip Krajinovic. The Frenchman dropped just three points on his first serve as he claimed his first win since the Australian Open.

Eighth seed Casper Ruud did not face a break point in his 7-6(5), 6-2 win over American qualifier Christopher Eubanks. The 23-year-old is playing Indian Wells for just the second time in his career, having fallen to Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round last October.

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Why Rafael Nadal Never Gives Up

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

Why Rafael Nadal Never Gives Up

Three-time Indian Wells champion reflects on comeback win against Korda

Rafael Nadal struggled on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open against Sebastian Korda, admitting that he “thought I was lost”. But regardless of how he feels, there is one constant in Nadal’s game — his fighting spirit.

That does not mean he expected to come back from two breaks down in the final set against Korda, though.

“If the people believe that I am a believer all the time that I [am] going to come back, [it is] not true. I am not this,” Nadal said. “I don’t have this amazing self-confidence that even if I am 5-2, ‘Okay, I [am] going to come back. No’,” Nadal said. “In my mind is, ‘Okay, it’s almost impossible. I don’t want to give up. I’m going to keep trying. But I know it’s going to be almost impossible. Let’s try to let him win, not help him to win. Just try to keep going and to put the things a little bit more difficult to the opponent.”

According to the three-time Indian Wells champion, he was still “super lucky” to find a way through against the home favourite inside a raucous Stadium 1 in the California desert.

“[The] normal thing with this kind of match, in that position from 100 matches, probably you [are] going to lose 90,” Nadal said. “But if you give up, you’re going to lose 100. If you are there, you can win 10 per cent.”

Nadal’s fighting spirit is one of the most impressive attributes in all of sports. But why, even in the most dire of circumstances, does the lefty battle so hard?

“The reason why I have been fighting during all my tennis career or I have the right self-control or I have the right attitude or fighting spirit during my whole tennis career is simple,” Nadal said. “Because I grew with this kind of education.

“My uncle, my family, never allowed me to break a racquet, never allowed me to say bad words or throw or give up a match. Probably when I was a kid, they didn’t care much about winning or losing.”

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The Spaniard added that his family always wanted him to win. However, they cared even more about how he carried himself through the good times and the bad on court.

“The most important thing was the education and the fact that I grow with the values, with the right values,” Nadal said. “I didn’t have many chances. I had to do it that way. If not, I will not play tennis. Honestly. If I went on court and I created a circus or broke a racquet or lost my control, my self-control, I would not be playing the next tournament, without a doubt. That’s probably why I have this mentality.”

While the fourth seed is happy he was able to claw into the third round, he knows he will have to raise his level if he hopes to improve to 17-0 on the season. Nadal next faces tricky Briton Daniel Evans, the 27th seed.

“I need to play better because I didn’t play well,” Nadal said. “I will work tomorrow to try to be ready.”

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Nadal Comes Back From Brink To Crush Korda's Dream

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2022

Nadal Comes Back From Brink To Crush Korda’s Dream

Spaniard erases a double-break deficit in the third

Rafael Nadal entered his 15th BNP Paribas Open with a 15-0 record in 2022, his career-best start to a season. He needed a great escape to keep that streak intact against Sebastian Korda on Saturday with a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(3) victory.

The American held a double break advantage at 5-2 in the third set in Indian Wells and twice served for the match. But just as in the Australian Open final, Nadal managed to turn the match around after looking down and out against an inspired opponent.

“I feel very, very lucky today to be through, honestly,” said the fourth seed, who credited Korda for his aggressive play. “Sebastian was playing some fantastic tennis and I’m sorry for him. He had chances, but that’s tennis. He’s very young, he has an amazing future. I wish him all the best.”

Nadal’s streak of 13 straight sets won dating back to the Aussie Open final was snapped, but the three-time Indian Wells champ denied Korda a famous victory against his idol with another clutch performance down the stretch. 

Two perfectly placed passing shots helped Nadal get back on serve at 5-5 in the third, and the Spaniard was the steadier player in the tie-break as he won the final five points of the match.

“I didn’t have my best feeling today,” Nadal said. “Good thing tomorrow is a day off. I need to keep practising… Another fantastic feeling being able to win that match. It doesn’t matter what way.”

Playing at Indian Wells for the first time since 2019, Nadal raced to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, immediately taking to the desert conditions. But Korda was hitting the bigger ball in set two and for much of set three, doing heavy damage with his all-court game until Nadal regained control with his late charge.

After winning just four games against the Spaniard (after whom he named his cat) at Roland Garros in 2020, the World No. 38 showed how much he’s improved since then as he pushed Nadal to the brink in the two-and-a-half hour contest.

Nadal next faces 27th seed Daniel Evans, a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Federico Coria earlier on Saturday.

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