Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios was everything advertised and more as the Spaniard overcame his challenger in three sets 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 at Indian Wells to take his unbeaten streak this year to 19 matches.
Nadal came into the contest after downing Reilly Opelka in the previous round with Kyrgios the fresher of the two after his walkover win over Jannik Sinner.
Nadal got the upper hand in the game by breaking Kyrgios’ serve for the first time in the tournament as the Aussie served for the first set at 5-4. The break changed the tide of the game, as Kyrgios grew frustrated and Nadal began to find greater success with his returns.
A shutout tie-break ended on a point penalty for an audible obscenity for the Australian.
A cooler-headed Aussie steadied himself in the second, dominating on serve and worrying Nadal with powerful returns throughout the set. Kyrgios dropped just two points on serve in the second set winning 88 percent (15/17) of those exchanges.
He pushed Nadal to 30/30 in three return games before making a breakthrough with the help of a few untimely errors from Nadal. The first breakpoint of the set doubled as a set point for Kyrgios, who tracked down a drop shot and flicked a high backhand volley past Nadal to level the match in style.
Nadal vs Kyrgios action did not relent in the final set with Nadal saving a pair of breakpoints in the second game of the set to halt his opponent’s momentum. Soon after, Nadal earned his second break of the match on a double fault to lead 4-3.
With Nadal back out in front, two love holds sealed victory in two hours and 46 minutes making Nadal the only player with 400 Masters 1000 single match wins.