Rafael Nadal battles previous Reilly Opelka to succeed in Indian Wells quarterfinals

The Spaniard managed to grind out a 7-6 (3) 7-6 (5) win over the 6-foot-11-inch serving specialist to report his 18th consecutive victory at first of 2022.

Nadal is simply the second participant to start out a season 18-0 for the reason that ATP Tour launched in 1990, with solely Novak Djokovic beforehand in a position to attain that milestone. The Serb has managed it twice, beginning 41-0 in 2011 and 26-0 in 2020.

This run — throughout which Nadal gained a record-breaking twenty first grand slam on the Australian Open and titles in Melbourne and Acapulco — is the 35-year-old’s finest ever begin to a season.
“He is one of the toughest opponents on Tour,” Nadal stated after the match, per the ATP. “It is very tough to control his weapons with his serve and forehand.

“I feel I performed my finest match of the match thus far right this moment. I’m very happy with how I used to be in a position to win the match, with two troublesome tie breaks. This victory means loads to me.”

Nadal is looking for his fourth tournament win in Indian Wells after previously picking up the title in 2007, 2009 and 2013.

Up next for Nadal is unseeded Australian Nick Kyrgios, who reached the quarterfinals via walkover after round of 16 opponent Jannik Sinner withdrew through illness.

Kyrgios has been at his blistering best at times in Indian Wells and is yet to drop a set or a service game in the tournament so far.

Before Wednesday’s match, Nadal said he would be skipping the Miami Open at the end of the month as he aims to get ready for the clay court season.

Nadal did not play within the again half of 2021 attributable to knee and foot accidents and says it might be “harmful” to transition from hard courts to clay too quickly.

“For my physique, it is not good to have fast transitions from completely different surfaces,” he told reporters.

“Clay to arduous — effectively, arduous to clay. If I play Miami, I cannot have time to relaxation and no time to make a swift transition to the clay. I wanted to push for the reason that starting [of the season] very arduous, in order that’s harmful for my foot, for my knees.

“I need to make that transition step by step. I cannot make drastic changes like I did in the past, so that’s why I decided to stop after here and to have, like, three weeks before the clay court season start for me.”

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