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 2022.
Rafa broke a rib in the semifinal but wanted to play for the title. A three-time champion gave his best, but lost his chances in the second set and ended up with the runner-up award. Thus, Taylor became the first American to win a Masters 1000 title since John Isner in Miami 2018 and the first in the desert since Andre Agassi in 2001!
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. They had a similar number of winners, and the American tamed his shots very well to settle with 22 unforced errors, while the Spaniard sprayed 34.
Taylor forced Rafa’s backhand error on fourth break point in the first game of the encounter to gain an early lead.
Taylor Fritz defeated Rafael Nadal in the Indian Wells final.
world no. 20 grabbed another break after extending Rafa over the baseline for a 3-0 lead.
Fritz stayed in love in game four before Nadal rallied for a break in game eight after the opponent’s backhand error. 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 clinch 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 broke in the next game to close out the result at 2-2.
The American fended off four break points in game five to remain on the bright side. Nadal earned another break chance at 4-4 with a forehand cross winner, doing his best to force a decider. Fritz saved it with a solid backhand attack and brought the game home after Nadal’s backhand error.
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. The Spaniard got more return chances in game 11.
He wasted 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 tremendous forehand-volley from an ideal position to put the opponent at 5-5. Taylor grabbed another mini-break at point 11 and converted the second match point with a forehand attack for his first Masters 1000 title.
«Beating Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells was crazy. I play tennis for those kinds of moments. I wasn’t sure I could play before the final, and I ended up winning the title. Winning Indian Wells was crazy.» Taylor Fritz said.