Triple champion Rafael Nadal through to Indian Wells final against Taylor Fritz

The 35-year-old’s 20-0 record is the third-best start to a season since 1990.

Pa Sport Staff
Sunday 20 March 2022 03:59
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Three-time champion Rafael Nadal will play Taylor Fritz in the final of the BNP Paribas Open after the Spaniard defeated compatriot Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 4-6 6-3 in windy conditions (John Walton/PA)
Three-time champion Rafael Nadal will play Taylor Fritz in the final of the BNP Paribas Open after the Spaniard defeated compatriot Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 4-6 6-3 in windy conditions (John Walton/PA)

Three-time champion Rafael Nadal will play Taylor Fritz in the final of the BNP Paribas Open after the Spaniard defeated compatriot Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 4-6 6-3 in windy conditions.

The pair, playing for the second time after Nadal defeated the teenager 10 months ago in straight sets in Madrid, battled throughout the first set at Indian Wells before it was claimed by the 35-year-old.

Despite the strong gusts, Alcaraz evened proceedings in the second after he broke Nadal to go up 5-4 with a lob to the baseline that the older man could not reach. The 18-year-old then served out the set 6-4.

Nadal was the one to earn a critical break in the decider via a forehand volley that took him ahead 5-3, with the Australian Open champion serving out the three hour and 12 minute match with a love game. He will face Fritz following the American’s 7-5 6-4 defeat of Andrey Rublev, which also snapped the Russian’s 13-match winning streak.

Fritz went ahead early in front of a boisterous San Diego crowd before Rublev claimed three consecutive gives to make it 5-5.

But Fritz pushed ahead and broke Rublev after a seven-deuce game to win the set and then the second.

The Russian saved eight of the 11 breaks he faced but was unable to do so at a crucial moment as he missed an easy forehand at the net, with Fritz responding by crushing the following serve to win the match.

Fritz told broadcasters later: “I was just like so much relief and I just couldn’t believe it. Those moments are the reason why I wanted to be an athlete, wanted to play professional tennis. It’s the best part of it all.”

The world number 20, who was a semi-finalist at Indian Wells last year, is the first American through to the final since John Isner in 2012 while Andre Agassi was the last US winner of the tournament in 2001.

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