Rafael Nadal earns 400th Masters win and extends perfect start to new year with Indian Wells comeback
Rafael Nadal battled back to win his 17th consecutive victory at Indian Wells and also earned an incredible 400th Masters 1000 win in the process, but is still targeting further improvement.
After narrowly edging past American youngster Sebastian Korda in his opening match, now 21-time Grand Slam champion Nadal beat British number two Dan Evans in straight sets 7-5, 6-3, but it wasn’t plain sailing for the Spanish legend.
Nadal surprisingly slumped to a 3-1 deficit in the opening set as the heat looked to be causing him problems, but he once again showed his steely resilience as he battled back to 4-4 before going on to win the first set 7-5.
As such, he has extended his winning streak to 17-0 and is yet to lose this season having won the Melbourne Summer Set, the Australian Open, and the Mexican Open.
The Mallorca native bucked a trend of upsets as all of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov all suffered early exits, five of whom occupy the ATP top ten whilst Shapovalov is 13th in the World.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Nadal was unaware he had achieved such a milestone of 400 Masters 1000 victories, saying “I didn’t know at all about that, but good numbers, of course.
“The match didn’t start the way that I wanted, but I was able to hit a couple of good passing shots in some key moments, and then things started to build a bit better.
“I need to keep improving, of course, but it has been a small improvement today. That’s important because the next round is going to be a very difficult one.”
Hard-hitting Reilly Opelka, known for his near-indomitable serve, will be Nadal’s next opponent after he roared back from a set down to eliminate Shapovalov.
Casually saving break point 🤷♂️#IndianWell | @RafaelNadal pic.twitter.com/aChj1taM12
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 14, 2022
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