Nadal beats Kyrgios, reaches 19-0 in 2022 and reaches Indian Wells semifinals

Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Indian Wells Masters, after a duel that included obscene expressions, underarm serves, a deducted point as punishment and rackets destroyed.

Nadal improved to a 19-0 record this year. It’s the third-best start to a season since 1990.

“I’m happy for that third set, because it wasn’t easy after the end of the second. It was terrible for me”, commented the Spaniard. “However, I held on emotionally and mentally. I think he was ready to keep fighting.”

At the conclusion of the match, Kyrgios went to the net to shake Nadal’s hand. He then slammed the racket down the court. The racket bounced high and far, narrowly missing a ball boy in the back court.

The Australian left to a mix of boos and cheers.

“He landed a meter from my foot, skidded and almost hit him,” Kyrgios acknowledged. “I’m human. These things happen. It was obviously a very unlucky rebound. I think if I did it a million times, the racket would never fly like that again.”

Nadal was beginning to welcome the applause on his side of the court and said that he had not been aware of the incident.

“I think Nick had a great attitude throughout the match in terms of his fighting spirit. Of course, he has his personality and his temperament,” Nadal said. “Sometimes he does things that I don’t like, but I respect him, because he has a different character. We have different points of view and different education”.

Trailing 0-6 in the first set tie-break, Kyrgios was serving when the chair umpire docked him a point as punishment for an obscene expression he made towards a fan. Nadal thus took the part.

Kyrgios dropped the balls he was holding in one hand and walked slowly and serenely to his chair.

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In the sixth game of the first set, Kyrgios was leading 40-0, when he served under his arm and between his legs. Nadal reacted and returned with a lightning strike over the line.

Kyrgios answered with a 140 mph ace to take a 4-2 lead. He also had 3-1 and 5-3 leads in the set.

Nadal won three straight games to take a 6-5 lead in the first set. On the court change, Kyrgios destroyed a racket, the remains of which he ended up giving to a child in the stands.

Early in the second set, the chair umpire reprimanded a spectator who repeatedly yelled, “Nick!”

“There are 10,000 people who came to watch tennis and you are the only one who shouts,” reproached the judge.

At 3-3 in the second set, Kyrgios served at 40-0. He again attempted the underarm serve and hit an ace to go up 4-3.

There were more incidents. At 2-2 during the third quarter. Kyrgios rebuked a viewer’s comments that he was sitting next to actor Ben Stiller.

The fan had given advice on how the Australian should play, who replied that he does not give Stiller acting advice.

In the semifinals, Nadal will face a compatriot, whom many consider the future of tennis. Carlos Alcaraz, 18, got there with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over defending champion and 12th seed Cameron Norrie.

Another Spaniard, Paula Badosa, advanced to the semis with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova.

Badosa will meet sixth-seeded Maria Sakkari, who defeated Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-4.

In the other semifinal, Iga Swiatek (3rd) and Simona Halep, the 2015 monarch, will face each other.

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