Taylor Fritz won Sunday March 20 the victory in two sets (6-3, 7-6) in the final of the Indian Wells tournament (California), against Rafael Nadal. Aged 24, the native of San Diego wins his second tournament on the ATP circuit, after the much less prestigious grass-court Eastbourne in 2019. He is the first American to triumph in the Californian desert since Andre Agassi in 2001.
He is above all the first of the season to bring down the ogre Nadal, the most successful player in Grand Slams (with twenty-one victories) since his triumph at the Australian Open at the end of January, who remained on twenty consecutive victories and was aiming for a fourth title in Indian Wells (after 2007, 2009 and 2013). The Spaniard, who will have to wait to equal the record of 37 Masters 1000 titles held by Novak Djokovic, will only have to console himself with the assurance of climbing to third place in the world on Monday.
He ended up becoming human again, facing an opponent that the rumor however did not say was 100% of his means. Fritz had indeed had to quickly cut short his morning training, because of a recalcitrant ankle. The day before after dismissing the Russian Andrey Rublev (7and), he admitted to having hurt himself a little at the end of the match.
But the most suffering of the two was obviously not the one we thought. Nadal, who had also caused chest pain in the third set of his tough fight against his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz (19and), again called on the physio after losing the first set. And he left to be treated in the locker room for a good five minutes.
He had just given up the first set, facing Fritz, who, like the day before to get rid of Andrey Rublev, set the tone from the start of the match. The American was aggressive and seized his chance almost in every exchange, relying on his excellent first serve and cross backhand – his best weapon.
Nadal resisted as best he could in the second set, despite an increasingly obvious pain – this time having his back massaged on the court – which mainly penalized him on the backhand, pushing him to make a lot of unforced errors . The Spaniard, however, managed to win some very good points by going after himself, suggesting yet another comeback, after saving a first match point at 5-4 on his serve.
But for once, he failed to convert the break points which might have revived everything. He ended up giving up 7-5 in the tiebreak.