Three-time Indian Wells champion Rafael Nadal reached the fourth round in the desert for the 13th time. Rafa barely survived the second round, overcoming a 5-2 deficit against Sebastian Korda in the deciding set and moving on.
Two days later, the Spaniard faced Daniel Evans in the third round and scored a 7-5, 6-3 win in one hour and 43 minutes to stay on the title track. Nadal improved to 17-0 in 2022 and achieved a huge milestone, becoming the first player with 400 Masters 1000 wins!
Rafa defeated Daniel in straight sets for the third time in as many meetings. He had 15 more points than his opponent and defended three of his four break chances to keep up the pressure. The Brit took a 4-2 lead in the opening set before the Spaniard leveled up for him and won five of the last six games.
Nadal grabbed a break in the second set and held it until the end to advance to the round of 16. The 21-time Majors winner built the advantage on short and medium exchanges. He kept his cool after a slow start and shifted into a higher gear to extend his remarkable streak.
Both players held to 15 in the first few games of the match to put their names on the scoreboard. Evans broke in the third game after a forehand error by Nadal and took the next game on an unreturned serve for a 3-1 lead. The Brit took the sixth game after another loose forehand from his opponent, and the Spaniard stayed in contention with his serve a few minutes later.
Rafa broke again in the eighth game and held 15 in the next with a service winner to take the lead. Daniel clinched the tenth game with a forehand winner and created break point at 5-5 for a great chance. Nadal saved it with a game-winning volley into the net and closed the game with a game-winning smash for 6-5.
Evans made a forehand error in the twelfth game to offer her rival set points. Nadal took advantage of the second after a double fault from Evans to make it 7-5 in 56 minutes.
Mbappe praises Nadal
French soccer superstar Kylian Mbappe is a huge admirer of Rafael Nadal, the man who has won 14 French Open titles in Paris, Mbappe's hometown as well as his footballing home with Paris Saint-Germain.
He revealed that the Spaniard "fascinated" him, hoping for an opportunity to meet and chat with him. "It's Nadal who really fascinates me. I didn't have the opportunity (to meet him), but I would like to," Mbappe said in an interview with France tv sport on the sidelines of the 2017 French Open.