ATP

Nadal grinds it out over Opelka, Berrettini shocked at Indian Wells

By Sports Desk March 16, 2022

Rafael Nadal did it tough against Reilly Opelka on Wednesday, eventually winning his way through to the quarter-finals at the Indian Wells Masters.

Nadal displayed an abundance of tactical nous, nullifying the American’s big hitting and service game to emerge the 7-6(6-3) 7-6(7-5) winner.

Along with a 76 percent first-serve rate, Opelka hit more winners with 26 for the match, but the 35-year-old Spaniard was able to grind out points from the baseline with his trademark heavy topspin. As a result, Nadal’s winner/unforced error differential was +14 in comparison to Opelka’s +1.

"He is one of the toughest opponents on tour," Nadal said post-match. "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."

The highest ranked player left in the draw, Nadal will now face Nick Kyrgios, who progressed to the quarter-finals after Jannik Sinner withdrew with illness.

Matteo Berrettini made a shock exit, meanwhile, losing 6-3 6-7(5-7) 6-4 to unseeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

The Italian world number six was put under constant pressure, with Kecmanovic targeting his backhand and hovered the baseline to close the angles on serve.

The 22-year-old’s only other top 10 victory came against Alexander Zverev, also the world number six then, at Cincinnati in 2019. He will now face Taylor Fritz, who defeated Alex de Minaur 3-6 6-4 7-6(7-5).

Also on Wednesday, Grigor Dimitrov edged past John Isner 6-3 7-6(8-6). In his unique style, the Bulgarian 33rd seed came up with the shot of the day, flicking a forehand pass across the visibly stunned Isner.

He will face Andrey Rublev, who defeated Hurbert Hurkacz 7-6(7-5) 6-4. In Wednesday’s other results, Carlos Alcaraz Garfia comfortably defeated Gael Monfils 7-5 6-1, while Cameron Norrie accounted for Jenson Brooksby 6-2 6-4.

Related items

  • Alex de Minaur defends Mexican Open title after straight sets win Alex de Minaur defends Mexican Open title after straight sets win

    Alex de Minaur has defended his Mexican Open title after defeating Norwegian Casper Ruud in straight sets in Acapulco.

    The match took just under two hours as the pair battled in long rallies, with the difference being the Australian’s ability to capitalise on break points, nailing three of four while Ruud converted just one of four.

    The 25-year-old took an early lead in the first set at 3-1 and served out the rest of the set, while in the second the pair broke each other before de Minaur had the decisive break in the seventh game.

    De Minaur won the same competition last year, beating American Tommy Paul, and further solidified his ranking in the top ten.

    He has won 10 straight games in Acapulco and is the first player since David Ferrer in 2012 to win back-to-back titles at the tournament.

    He defeated Jack Draper in the semi-final after the Englishman retired ill in the third set.

  • Katie Boulter through to San Diego Open final after straight sets win Katie Boulter through to San Diego Open final after straight sets win

    Katie Boulter will play in her first WTA-500 final after she beat American Emma Navarro in straight sets at the San Diego Open.

    It took just over an hour for Boulter who won the first set 6-3 and dominated the second 6-1 against the third seed.

    The 27-year-old from Leicester dominated on her serve, winning more than 87 per cent of first serve points and allowed just two break points opportunities against her serve, saving both.

    Rain stopped play early in the second set, but the delay did nothing to stop Boulter’s momentum as she produced an almost perfect set to secure victory.

    Boulter will climb to her career-high WTA ranking after the win as she looks to win her first WTA-500 title in what will be the biggest game of her career so far.

  • Jack Draper retires ill in deciding set of Mexican Open semi-final Jack Draper retires ill in deciding set of Mexican Open semi-final

    Jack Draper retired in the third set of his semi-final against Australian Alex de Minaur at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

    Draper left the court 4-0 down in the final set because of an undisclosed illness after he staged a strong comeback from a set down to the defending champion.

    The Australian started strongly, taking the first 6-3 and capitalising on four of six break points – the first set Draper had dropped in the tournament.

    But the British number three staged a valiant comeback, winning the second set 6-2 with some strong returns.

    His illness became an issue towards the end of the second set with the 22-year-old receiving treatment from the physiotherapist and tournament doctor.

    Things only got worse in the third set as the Australian won four consecutive games before Draper retired from the match.

    De Minaur said after the match that he wishes Draper a “speedy recovery”.

    “He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a talent and I hope it’s nothing too serious,” he said.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.