Nadal’s great start to 2022 continues at Indian Wells; Medvedev bounced out
Los Angeles, Mar 14 (EFE).- Rafael Nadal defeated Daniel Evans 7-5, 6-3 on Monday to advance to the round of 16 of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, and extend his unbeaten run at the start of the 2022 season to 17 matches.
After rallying from a 5-2 deficit in the third set to defeat American Sebastian Korda in his opening contest on Saturday at this ATP Tour Masters 1000 hard-court event, the fourth-ranked Spaniard had less difficulty against a talented but undersized opponent.
Nadal struggled with his serve early on and fell behind 4-2 to the 29th-ranked Briton. He then faced a break point when serving at 5-5, but after capturing the opening set in 57 minutes it was relatively clear sailing the rest of the way.
Evans’ last chance came and went in the fifth game of the second set when he squandered two break-point opportunities that would have gotten him back on serve at 3-2.
With the victory, the Spaniard became the first player to reach 400 match wins at ATP Tour Masters 1000 events, a group of nine men’s tournaments across all surfaces that are second only in prestige to the four Grand Slam events.
He is now 19 wins ahead of Swiss arch-rival Roger Federer in Masters 1000 match wins and 26 ahead of Serbian great Novak Djokovic.
“I didn’t know at all about that, but good numbers, of course,” Nadal said when told about the 400-win milestone.
Nadal, who set the men’s Grand Slam record (21 singles titles) by capturing the Australian Open and also has won two other hard-court events so far this season in Melbourne and Acapulco, Mexico, will continue his quest for a fourth straight title of 2022 when he takes on either big-serving American Reilly Opelka or talented Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
Earlier Monday, world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, a Russian player who is competing under a neutral flag following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, was stunned 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 by Frenchman Gael Monfils, the husband of 18th-ranked Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.
That loss has cost Medvedev his brief hold on the top spot in the rankings.
Ironically, the No. 1 player when the new rankings are released next Monday will be Djokovic, who has only played three matches this year due to restrictions that bar those unvaccinated against Covid-19 from competing.
Djokovic was forced to withdraw from both Indian Wells and the Miami Open, which gets under way on March 21, because of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations that bar unvaccinated travelers from entering the country. EFE