21-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal’s victory over Briton Daniel Evans in the last 32 of the 2022 Indian Wells Masters, saw Nadal record his 400th victory at the ATP Masters 1000 level tournament.
Playing a match that lasted 1 hour 43 minutes, Nadal managed to win in straight sets from Evans with a 7-5 and 6-3 position.
« I didn’t realize (the number of wins) at all about it, but it’s a good number, of course, » Nadal said when told he was reaching his 400th win.
Not only did he record his 400th win, this result was also the 17th consecutive win for Nadal during the 2022 season.
Since his first tournament in Melbourne in early January, Nadal is unbeaten to date, the Spaniard has won three titles throughout the 2022 season including winning the 2022 Australian Open grand slam.
Seizing victory in straight sets from Evans did not mean it was an easy fight for Nadal. In his action, the former world number one immediately put pressure on his opponent at the beginning of the first set with his flagship forehand that managed to put him 1-0 up.
But surprisingly Evans got up with a more aggressive appearance. Under pressure from Evans, Nadal began to lose his accuracy and made the opponent reverse the advantage by winning 3 games directly with the position 3-1.
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Luckily, Nadal was able to regain control of the game, appearing more aggressive with his forehand strike. The clay king managed to win the first set 7-5 and continued it in the second with 6-3.
« The game didn’t start the way I wanted it to, » said Nadal. « But I was able to make some good shots in some important moments, and then things started to develop a little bit better. »
With top seed Daniil Medvedev losing to Gael Monfils (France) and Germany’s Alexander Zverev losing to Tommy Paul (USA), fourth seed Nadal is now the highest-ranked player left at Indian Wells.
In the round of 16, the three-time Indian Wells Champion will next face 17th seed Reilly Opelka of the United States. On the way, Opelka managed to overthrow Canadian Denis Shapovalov by fighting in three sets 6-7(4/7), 6-4 and 6-4.
« Of course I have to keep improving my game. But today I felt a small improvement and that’s important because the next round will be a more difficult round, » said Nadal. (ATP/OL-13)