Taylor Fritz ends Nadal’s perfect start at Indian Wells

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Taylor Fritz ends Nadal's perfect start at Indian Wells

Taylor Fritz defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the final of the Indian Wells to end the Spaniard’s perfect start to the 2022 season.

The American powered to a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory to win his second ATP Tour trophy preventing Nadal from winning a record-tying 37th ATP Masters 1000 title and ending his personal-best 20-match win streak to start the season.

Fritz came out firing and raced to a 4-0 lead in the opening set before Nadal took a medical timeout in between sets.

Nadal used all his experience to soak up his opponent’s pace in the second, finding his way back into the game by extending rallies and staying solid from the baseline. But after failing to secure four break points at 2-2, and another at 4-4, the American began to reassert his will on Stadium 1.

The Spaniard saved a championship point at 4-5 to set up a tension-filled tie-break. Nadal began to step up his aggression on the key points, but Fritz found an even higher gear and ultimately finished the match with a serve-forehand combo.

The victory equals Fritz’s best career win in terms of ATP Rankings, matching his result over then-World No. 4 Alexander Zverev in the 2021 Indian Wells quarters. But this was Fritz’s first win in nine matches against the ‘Big Three,’ leveling his ATP record at 1-1 against Nadal.

Taylor Fritz, playing in his first Masters 1000 final, became the first American men’s champion at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001 and the youngest Indian Wells men’s champ since Novak Djokovic in 2011.

He is projected to rise to a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 13 while Nadal, who will next compete in Monte-Carlo, will move up to No. 3.

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