Thursday. 09.02.2023
INDIAN WELLS

Nadal and Alcaraz set up all-Spanish semifinal at Indian Wells

Nadal's win set up an exciting match-up with Spanish starlet Alcaraz, who was brimming with confidence against Norrie in the night game
17 March 2022, US, Indian Wells: Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal in action against Australia's Nick Kyrgios during their Men's Singles Quarter-final Tennis match of the Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photo: Charles Baus/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal in action against Australia's Nick Kyrgios at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photo: Charles Baus/dpa.

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz set up an all-Spanish semi-final at the Indian Wells Masters, after both secured wins on Thursday.

Nadal overcame a strong start and comeback from Nick Kyrgios to eventually win 7-6 (6-0), 5-7, 6-4 in the opening quarter-final, before Alcaraz beat defending champion Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-3.

The 35-year-old Spaniard extended his unbeaten run in 2022 to a staggering 19-0, but the win was not without its share of controversy against the fiery Kyrgios.

A shutout tie-break to end the first was followed by a fiery resurgence from Kyrgios, before he eventually collapsed in the third set and nearly hit a ball kid at the end of the match, when the 26-year-old smashed his racquet in frustration before it bounced up dangerously.

Similarly to his fourth-round win over Reilly Opelka, Nadal used all of his tactical nous to nullify Kyrgios' serve and power, frustrating his opponent to eventually claim the victory.

"It's difficult to play against [Kyrgios], always tough because he changes the dynamic of the point very quick and his serve is huge, especially the first serve," Nadal said afterwards.

"I think I played a good third set. Returning better, I was solid with the serve. I just suffered in one game with my serve.

"Nick is one of these kinds of players that you're going to have problems when he's motivated."

It was a carbon copy of recent matches between the two, with Nadal eventually waiting for Kygrios' collapse and pouncing. He now leads their head-to-head battle 6-3.

Confident Alcaraz

The win set up an exciting match-up with Spanish starlet Alcaraz, who was brimming with confidence against Norrie in the night game.

The 18-year-old gave the Indian Wells defending champion problems with his characteristically flat two-handed backhand, before opening up the shoulders on the forehand side as the game progressed.

It made up for the fact he only won 59 per cent of points on first serve, converting on five of his nine break point attempts.

His stroke play from the baseline was at times thrilling, particularly to set up 15-30 in the fourth game before immediately breaking Norrie back.

Nadal and Alcaraz set up all-Spanish semifinal at Indian Wells
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