May 20, 2022

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Nadal defeats Alcaraz after 3h12 and fights for four

Nadal defeats Alcaraz after 3h12 and fights for four

Nadal returns to Indian Wells final after nine seasons

Photo: BNP Paribas Open

Indian Wells (USA) – Less than a year after facing each other for the first time on clay in Madrid, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz met again on the track on Saturday, in the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 at Indian Wells. The second duel between them was more balanced, but the winner was the same. Much wanted by his young rival, who is only 18 years old, Nadal needed 3 hours and 12 to score the parts 6/4, 4/6 and 6/3 and reach the 2022 win in a row.

At the age of 35, Nadal made the best start to his winning career season and has already celebrated his Australian Open titles as well as the ATP 250 in Melbourne and the 500 in Acapulco. Three-time champion at Indian Wells in 2007, 2009 and 2013. He returned to the finals of the tournament after nine years. In addition to the three titles, the Spaniard also took second place in 2011.

Masters 1000 series tournament wins record, now with 403 wins, Nadal also has a chance to equal the title record. He has 36 wins in tournaments of this size, one less than Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard will play in the 53rd Masters final and the 129th final of his career, who has already won 91 titles.

In pursuit of his fourth title of the season, Nadal will face American Taylor Fritz in Sunday’s final at 19:00.. The Spaniard has had the best of his previous sole fencing, the ATP 500 final in Acapulco in 2020. Fritz, 24 and 20 in the standings, is the first American in an Indian Wells final since John Isner in 2012 and aims to be the first home champion since Andre Agassi in 2001.

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Already in the semi-finals Alcaraz finishes her best post in the Masters 1000. The 18-year-old, who is 19th in the world rankings, will make his debut in the top 15 next Monday. He has only 12 wins and two losses this season, having won in 2022 the second and most important title of his career at the Rio Open, the only ATP 500 in South America.

The first set is very difficult, with more than an hour

The first set between Nadal and Alcaraz was very difficult and lasted for an hour and a half. Both players were very good at replaying and constantly pressing their opponents’ services. Nadal also took advantage of Alcaraz’s first few serves on the court to generate 17 break points during the partial. He only exploited three, but a lot because the young opponent was playing really well in some moments of pressure. Big differences in the number of winners, 17-5 for Alcaraz, as well as errors, 23 for the youngest and only 9 for the oldest.

Alcaraz got a break in the first game of the match and dropped five break points in the sequence to open 2/0 on the scoreboard. Only then was Nadal able to confirm the serve and regain the second half. He even turned the score to 4/2, but lost serve in the seventh game and allowed a new tie in the sequence, having missed four more break points. When Nadal led 5/4, Alcaraz started the service game with double faults and fouls, and quickly found himself at 0-40. He even saved four set points, but he didn’t avoid losing the partial on the fifth chance.

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Lots of wind on the field during the second set

Tennis players had another opponent in the second set, the Wind. It was increasingly difficult to control the trajectory of the ball and some points were determined by chance. The interval between servings often exceeded 25 seconds, and the game was sometimes interrupted by things on the field. With all this said, there were four breaks in a row between 2/2 and 4/4.

The ninth game of the second set took 19 minutes and Nadal saved six break points with his first header in the match. In a very tense moment, buoyed by the adverse conditions, Alcaraz hit a fine ball to get the break. In the next match, he managed to close the group. He made 10-7 with the winners in the section and made 10 fouls against Nadal’s 17.

Nadal started the last set with a risk and took the only chance
The third set started with the dominance of the servers, as Alcaraz confirmed his matches with more calm while Nadal was threatened. He even saved three break points in the fifth inning and had a wall along the net to escape the risk in the seventh. Until then, Alcaraz had only lost one point on serve during the third set, but Nadal raised the bar and gave nothing free to get the break. Serving in the match, he was decisive, setting points with greater authority to cement an epic victory.

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Al-Carez advanced the match winner’s statistics with a score of 39 to 20 and committed 41 unforced errors compared to Nadal’s 35. The match had only three aces, 2 to 1 for Nadal. The former world number one hit six breaks on 21 break points, while his young opponent broke five times on 14 breaks.