world no. 20 in the world Taylor Fritz claimed his first Masters 1000 title in front of home fans in Indian Wells. The California native defeated 21-time Major champion Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6 in two hours and six minutes, lifting a remarkable trophy and handing over Nadal’s first loss of the season.
Rafa broke a rib, but still reached the final after tight wins over Reilly Opelka, Nick Kyrgios and Carlos Alcaraz. A three-time champion gave his best in the title clash, but lost his chances in the second set and finished with the runner-up award.
Taylor became the first American winner of a Masters 1000 title since John Isner in Miami 2018 and the first in the desert since Andre Agassi in 2001! Fritz threw everything he had at Nadal and kept his cool in the second set to wrap up the win and start a massive celebration.
Rafa was far from his prime, and Taylor felt the same! He injured his ankle in the closing semifinal against Andrey Rublev and didn’t know how his body would react in the final. Still, he was determined to give it his all against a winner of 21 Majors and fight for the crown in front of the home crowd.
Taylor earned ten more points than Rafa and fended off eight out of ten break opportunities. Two breaks weren’t enough to keep Nadal safe, as he was broken four times in nine opportunities offered to his young opponent. Taylor had the advantage in the shorter range of up to four shots and held on even with the powerful rival in the longer rallies to take the win.
They had a similar number of winners. The American mastered his shots very well to hold 22 unforced errors, while the Spaniard sprayed 34. Taylor forced Rafa’s backhand error on fourth break chance in the first game of the encounter to gain an early lead and momentum. .
Taylor Fritz defeated Rafael Nadal in the Indian Wells final.
world no. 20 was held at love in the second game and grabbed another break after extending Rafa over the baseline for a 3-0 lead. Fritz was in love again in the fourth game, and it was clear that Nadal was not in his best physical shape.
The Spaniard pulled back a break in game eight after an opponent’s backhand error to reduce the deficit. The Spaniard scored a routine backhand in game nine and faced two set points. Fritz capitalized on the second after a loose forehand from Nadal to deliver his third break and win the opener 6-3 in 39 minutes.
Rafa created two break chances at 1-1 in the second set after Taylor’s double fault. Nadal converted the second after a deflected forehand from his opponent to open a 2-1 gap. Fritz fell back in the next game to erase the deficit and secure the result at 2-2.
The American fended off four break points in game five to stay on the bright side and gain momentum. Nadal earned another break chance at 4-4 with a forehand cross winner. Fritz saved it with a solid backhand attack to prolong the game, refusing to give up.
The home player brought it home after Nadal’s backhand error for a 5-4 lead. Rafa received a medical timeout on his left rib and served to stay in the match in the tenth game. Taylor created match point with a forehand down the line winner, and Rafa denied it with a forehand attack to extend the battle.
The Spaniard had more return chances in game 11. He squandered the first with a loose forehand and the second when the American fired a rare ace. Nadal put those chances behind him and produced an excellent hold in game 12 to introduce a tiebreaker.
Rafa hit a game-winning volley into the net to make it 3-3 and added the seventh point after a bad backhand from Taylor. The Spaniard attacked on the ninth point and closed it out with a great winner into the net for a 5-4 lead. Rafa executed a terrific forehand drive-volley from an ideal position on the tenth point to put the opponent back at 5-5.
Taylor grabbed another mini-break at point 11 and seized second match point with a forehand attack for his first Masters 1000 title.