Nick Kyrgios fell short of stopping Rafa Nadal extending his 2022 win streak to 19 in a thrilling quarterfinal encounter at Indian Wells.
Word No. 4 Nadal took almost three hours to extinguish the volatile Aussie’s fire 7-6(0).5-7,6-4.
Kyrgios tested the Australian Open 2022 winner to the full and came close to inflicting the first loss of the year on the in-form Spaniard.
Nadal broke wild card Kyrgios’ serve for the first time in the tournament when the Aussie served for the first set at 5-4.
Kyrgios had held each of his 30 previous service games, saving nine break points on the way to the quarter final without dropping a set.
The Aussie firebrand smashed two rackets as the first set slipped from his grasp and he even had a feisty verbal exchange with Hollywood “A” lister Ben Stiller sitting in the front row.
That break changed the direction of the match, as Kyrgios grew more frustrated and Nadal began to take control.
A shutout tie-break ended on a point penalty for an audible obscenity from Kyrgios.
Nadal now stands 6-3 against Kyrgios including wins in their last three meetings.
The three-time Indian Wells champion Nadal reached the semi-finals for the 11th time.
“I think for moments I played well,” Nadal said after the match. “It’s difficult to play against him, always tough because he changes the dynamic of the point very quick and his serve is huge, especially the first serve.
“I think I played a good third set. Returning better. I was solid with the serve; I just suffered in one game with my serve. Nick is one of these kind of players that you’re going to have problems when he’s motivated.
Nadal will next face either heir apparent Carlos Alcaraz or Brit Cameron Norrie.
Kyrgios could soon return to the world’s top 100 following his efforts in the Californian desert heat as he turns his attention to next week’s Miami Open, where he has received a wildcard into the main draw singles and will also play doubles with partner Thanasi Kokkinakis, the current Australian Open title holders.
Main photo:- Rafa Nadal winning quarter final – by Pete Staples ATPTour.com