'Pushing undefeated Rafael Nadal to the limits felt great,' Sebastian Korda opens up

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'Pushing undefeated Rafael Nadal to the limits felt great,' Sebastian Korda opens up

Rafael Nadal skipped the second part of the 2021 season due to a foot injury suffered in the Roland Garros semi-final. Giving his best to recover ahead of the new season, Nadal experienced two Mubadala World Tennis Championship losses and the coronavirus before traveling to Melbourne and testing his physical shape.

As it turned out, it was one of Rafa's best decisions, as he claimed a small ATP title and the 21st Major crown at the Australian Open. The Spaniard took down Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in five hours and 24 minutes in the title clash, earning the record-breaking crown and taking a proper rest ahead of Acapulco.

The Spaniard secured the fourth title in Mexico since 2005 to extend the winning streak and his perfect season. Heading to Indian Wells, Rafa faced a stern test in the second round, with the young American Sebastian Korda standing on the other side of the net.

The Spaniard remained undefeated this season following a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 victory in two hours and 29 minutes, overcoming a massive deficit to avoid an early exit. Korda served for the victory twice in the final set but could not produce his best tennis when it mattered the most, making too many errors and allowing Nadal to seal the deal in the tie break.

Rafa saved seven out of 11 break chances and converted four out of six break points. The more experienced player overcame one of his worst periods this season in sets two and three to improve his 2022 score to 16-0!

Rafael Nadal is 17-0 so far in 2022.

Pleased with his performance, Korda stated that he almost defeated the most in-form player this season, not feeling good about the defeat but gaining a boost of confidence for the upcoming matches.

Nadal made a perfect start and claimed the opening set before Korda raised his level to show his arsenal in set number two. The American claimed it 6-1 and forged a massive 5-2 advantage in the decider. Serving twice to beat his idol, Sebastian started spraying errors and failed to create match points, allowing Rafa to level the score at 5-5.

With a boost on his side, the Spaniard claimed five straight points in the tie break and produced another impressive comeback to keep a perfect score in 2022. "Rafa and I played a tight practice set, and I feel I'm getting better and better; it's progress.

Rafa is one of the greatest players of all time, and he has not lost a match this year. It was fantastic to push him to the edge. I have shown how dangerous I can be, and it makes me happy. Maybe nerves got a bit to me at 5-2, and Rafa also raised his level.

He stopped missing and came closer to the baseline. Rafa is an incredible fighter, one of the greatest in history. Rafa will always be my hero and one of the reasons I picked the racquet. There's a lot to learn from these kinds of matches.

Hopefully, next time I will not make the same mistakes. I hope to get many more chances against him," Sebastian Korda said.