ATP Indian Wells: Rafael Nadal beats Nick Kyrgios (7-6, 5-7, 6-4) to qualify for the semi-finals

He folded, but as so often and especially lately, Rafael Nadal didn’t break. In a match that kept the promises you would expect from such a poster, the Majorcan successfully passed Nick Kyrgios’ test in the quarterfinals in Indian Wells on Thursday. He was clearly dominated by streaks and never panicked. He surfed on the confidence he had built up at the start of the season to raise his level of play and beat his Australian rival to the post in three sets (7-6, 5-7, 6-4) and nearly three hours of battle (2h45 exactly). Still undefeated in 2022 with 19 wins now, he will face his young and talented compatriot Carlos Alcaraz for his 76th Masters 1000 semi-final.

ATP Indian Wells

Spoon trump: Kyrgios left Nadal behind

AN HOUR AGO

Rafael Nadal is concerned, he never hid it. But if he was worried about the condition of his left foot before this shock to Nick Kyrgios, he needs to be reassured now. Not only did he go all the way, but his level continued to rise during a very high quality competition. Uncomfortable at the start of the game and hampered by the opposing team’s firepower, the “Taurus of Manacor” gradually took his mark and resisted everything, such as a third set where his composure and his blood cold made all the difference.

Kyrgios to Ben Stiller: “Do I tell you how to play?”

Too nervous, Kyrgios missed the boat in the first set

And yet Nick Kyrgios lived up to his reputation. The one that makes him a dangerous player for all the leaders of the little yellow ball, if he will give himself the means. And this regardless of his ranking and this 132nd place in the world are unworthy of talent. Motivated by the poster, the Australian got off to a great start, right after a very interesting start to the tournament in which he dominated Casper Ruud remarkably sharply (his first Top 10 in two years). An intermission from the third game, rockets galore in the forehand, and constant variation in the zones and speeds on the serve meant he had rain or shine in the first act. At least until 5-4 when he had to serve to take the lead.

A penalty point and a tie-break lost 7-0: how Kyrgios lost the 1st set to Nadal . offered

Had he won this match, Kyrgios might have been Rafael Nadal’s first executioner this year. But the Aussie, who nevertheless displays such self-confidence, made his break at the worst possible moment with a gross forehand error. The following ? A tiebreak led as smoothly by the Majorcan as edited by the erratic Nick: a 7-0 ended on a penalty point after a second “warning” (the first was due to a broken racket) for verbal obscenity by the Australian.

Aggressive and on the lookout, Nadal let the storm pass

At the start of the second set, however, Kyrgios held onto the start of the second set, curbing his frustration and concentrating on his commitments. The game then turned into a duel of servers until the 132nd most dangerous player in the history of the game came out of the box at 6-5, to break in style with a high volley reverse. A set everywhere, ball in the middle. And even Kyrgio’s advantage at the start of the closing act, Nadal showed more and more flaws with no less than 7 double faults. But true to himself, the Majorcan turned his back, ignoring two entry points. Before they appear at the first adverse speed drop.

As cheerful, explosive, inventive in sequences as it is nervous at crucial moments, Kyrgios finished 3-3. By piecing together the wrong choices, he admitted to a crippling double fault. A mistake he might not have made had he played more matches of this intensity lately. It was enough for Nadal to close the case. Sharp in his attacking choices, authoritarian in the serve to finish on a shutout and a smash, he raised his tone considerably. It was necessary to rise to the challenge.

ATP Indian Wells

Bad idea: Kyrgios was punished by Nadal, after this spoon service between the legs

AN HOUR AGO

ATP Indian Wells

Kyrgios to Ben Stiller: “Do I tell you how to play?”

AN HOUR AGO