Taylor Fritz won his first ATP Masters 1000 on Sunday, stopping Rafael Nadal's streak. The American won the final of the BNP Paribas Open against the Spanish 6-3, 7-6 (5) and prevented his rival from reaching 21 consecutive victories and celebrating his fourth trophy of the year.
Nadal and Fritz had only seen each other once, in the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC in 2020. That time the Spaniard won without too much trouble, a script that was not repeated in Indian Wells on Sunday during the grand final.
of the first ATP Masters 1000 of the calendar. The American made a storming start to take a 4-0 lead, and managed that lead well by playing very aggressively. Even when Nadal reacted, giving his opponent back one of the breaks, the American accelerated again to achieve a break that gave him the first set of the match.
During the break after that first set, Nadal went to the locker room to be treated by the physiotherapist for problems in the pectoral area, which he began to feel on Saturday in the semifinal match against Carlos Alcaraz.
Nadal, visibly below his level, couldn't find a way to turn the crossover around and watched as the American kept hammering his line shots to shorten rallies, quickly gaining an advantage.
Rafa struggled on clay last season
Rafael Nadal revealed that he was having trouble breathing after the final at Indian Wells on Sunday.
"I don't know, honestly, no? It happened yesterday night just at the end of the match last night," Nadal said. "So finishing that late yesterday and playing today in the morning, as you can imagine, I didn't have the chance to do many things, not even a chance to check what's going on there.
That's it. All the thing I can say is tough to breathe for me. I don't know, I feel very, very -- when I try to breathe, it's painful and it's very uncomfortable. But that's it, no? Is not the moment to talk about that honestly, no? Even if it's obvious that I was not able to do the normal things today...
That's it. It's a final. I tried. I lost against a great player. I think it's not the day to talk about what's going on with me. It's his (Fritz's) day. We don't need to hide that in my comments." Rafael Nadal continued his praise for Fritz, who won the biggest title of his career.
The 35-year-old said that the American has a great chance of breaking into the top 10 "very soon." "He played well. He went through some great matches during this week I think, especially yesterday," Nadal said.
"A lot of credit to him on the victory of yesterday that, in my opinion, his victory of yesterday is much bigger than his victory of today because he had much tougher opponent in front yesterday than today I think."