Thursday. 09.02.2023
INDIAN WELLS

Fritz ends Nadal's 20-0 run to clinch Indian Wells title

The Spanish world number four's undefeated streak coming into Sunday's final ended at 20 with the loss

20 March 2022, US, Indian Wells: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal holds the runner-up trophy after the Men's Singles Final Tennis match against USA's Taylor Fritz during the Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photo: Charles Baus/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Rafael Nadal holds the runner-up trophy after the Men's Singles Final Tennis match against Taylor Fritz at Indian Wells. Photo: Charles Baus/dpa.

Taylor Fritz spectacularly claimed his first ATP 1000 trophy on Sunday, defeating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) to win the Indian Wells Masters.

Having only won once in his previous five finals, against Sam Querrey at Eastbourne in 2019, the 24-year-old displayed distinct maturity under pressure despite carrying an ankle injury.

The Spanish world number four's undefeated streak coming into Sunday's final ended at 20 with the loss.

For Fritz however, his first Masters title coming in as many finals was difficult to process, especially against an opponent in Nadal in front of his home crowd.

"I've lost these matches against the big guys my whole life," Fritz said in his on-court interview. "It's always felt like they're just unbeatable, so to do it on this stage, you have to beat the best.

"This is just one of those childhood dreams, winning this tournament especially at Indian Wells. This is one of those childhood dreams that you just never think will come true. I just keep saying 'no way this is real'."

Pressure

20 March 2022, US, Indian Wells: American tennis player Taylor Fritz in action against Spain's Rafael Nadal during their Men's Singles Final Tennis match of the Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photo: Charles Baus/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Taylor Fritz in action against Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells. Photo: Charles Baus/dpa.

Both faced pressure under their respective serves, but Nadal ultimately failed to capitalise on opportunities, converting only twice out of a possible 10 break points.

His 34 unforced errors in comparison to Fritz's 22, in such a closely contested match, contributed to the eventual result.

Fritz overcame his ankle concerns to race to a 4-0 lead in the first set before Nadal, facing his own physical challenges, took a medical time-out after losing the first set.

Nadal saved a championship point to force a tiebreak in the second set. Reflecting the pressure he was under after going down a mini-break, though, the Spaniard's ground strokes teetered dangerously close to the baseline.

20 March 2022, US, Indian Wells: American tennis player Taylor Fritz celebrates with the trophy after defeating Spain's Rafael Nadal in their Men's Singles Final Tennis match of the Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photo: Charles Baus/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
Taylor Fritz celebrates with the trophy after defeating Rafael Nadal. Photo: Charles Baus/dpa.

The 35-year-old even made rare approaches to the net to turn defence into attack, amid some thrilling exchanges from the baseline, but a scuffed volley from mid-court to set up another Fritz championship point was the last straw despite displaying his trademark doggedness.

Fritz ends Nadal's 20-0 run to clinch Indian Wells title
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