Rafael Nadal: 'Sebastian Korda probably deserved to beat me'
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 1839
Rafael Nadal won the opening 20 matches of the season for the best start of his career. The Spaniard conquered Melbourne, the Australian Open and Acapulco before heading to Indian Wells. Nadal met Sebastian Korda in the second round in the desert and barely escaped the season's first loss!
The Spaniard trailed 5-2 in the decider before bouncing back and earning a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 victory in two and a half hours. The young American served for victory twice but did not endure the pressure. He started making errors and ruined everything he was building after the opener.
Nadal admitted he did not play a good match, feeling sorry for his rival, who should have scored the win. Rafa won five points more than Sebastian and saved seven out of 11 break chances to prolong the encounter and remain competitive.
The Spaniard converted four out of six break points and overcame terrible periods in sets two and three to avoid the earliest exit since Shanghai 2016! A three-time champion broke twice in the opener to forge a 4-0 advantage, playing well and closing it with a hold at 5-2.
Sebastian raised his level against his idol and dominated set number two to force a decider and show his A-game.
Rafael Nadal barely escaped against Sebastian Korda in Indian Wells.
With everything working his way, the youngster opened a 5-2 gap in the final set, firing from both wings and moving a game away from a career-best victory.
Recovering his game in the last moment, Rafa pulled one break back in game eight and repeated that at 4-5 to deliver the second break and lock the result at 5-5. Nadal sprayed a forehand error in the 11th game to face a break point.
He saved it after Korda's massive forehand mistake to reach a tie break and become the favorite. Sebastian sent a backhand wide at 3-2 and lost momentum. Rafa claimed five straight points and produced another impressive comeback to remain unbeaten in 2022.
"I do not know how I won the match. I was fortunate, as I probably played one of my worst matches of the year. Sebastian played well, he was very aggressive, and it was not easy to control his balls. I did not serve well, and he pressured me on the return.
My forehand created no damage, but I still managed to win. I feel sorry for Sebastian, as he deserved the victory more than I did. I'm pleased to go through, and I will try to raise my level in the next one. Sebastian started making mistakes while serving for the match, and I passed him twice. I can not say much, I'm super happy to go through, but I have to play better," Rafael Nadal said.