Carlos Alcaraz on facing Rafael Nadal: 'It was spectacular'

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Carlos Alcaraz on facing Rafael Nadal: 'It was spectacular'

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal finished the season in the top-2 and wrote Spanish tennis history. Two compatriots met twice in 2022, with Nadal winning in Indian Wells and Alcaraz serving his revenge in Madrid. Entering the top-20 for the first time, Carlos headed to Indian Wells as one of the dark horses.

He scored four victories to advance into the first Masters 1000 semi-final, becoming the sixth-youngest Masters 1000 semi-finalist. The Spaniard dethroned Cameron Norrie and set a blockbuster clash against his idol Rafael Nadal.

Seeking a place in the top-15 and the first Masters 1000 final, Carlos experienced a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 loss in three hours and 12 minutes, pushing Rafa to the limits but ending his run in the semis. Nadal won only two points more than Alcaraz and seized six breaks from 21 opportunities.

A teenager delivered five breaks from 14 chances, insufficient to score a victory and remain on the title course. Rafa and Carlos gave their best in windy conditions, producing impressive shotmaking and keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats.

The rivals stayed neck and neck in the shortest and more advanced rallies. Rafa made the crucial difference with a single break in the decider to advance into his 53rd Masters 1000 final. The youngster grabbed a break in the encounter's first game and saved five break points in game two to settle into a nice rhythm.

Nadal pushed into a higher gear and rattled off four straight games, including breaks in games four and six for a 4-2 advantage. Alcaraz pulled the break back in game seven and fended off four break points in the next one for 4-4.

Carlos Alcaraz praised Rafael Nadal and his Indian Wells performance.

Staying composed, Nadal converted the fifth set point in game ten for 6-4 after grueling 66 minutes. The wind caused them a lot of trouble in set number two, and we saw five consecutive breaks.

Alcaraz scored three and opened a 5-4 gap with a lob winner after a 20-minute battle! A teenager held after deuce in game ten to wrap up the set and introduce a decider after two hours and 21 minutes. The returners had no chances in the third set's opening four games.

Nadal produced a crucial hold in game five after denying three break points. Also, he held after deuce at 3-3 to hang in and wait for return chances. He secured a break at 4-3 with a volley winner and fired a service winner in game nine to come victorious in a memorable clash.

"We leave Indian Wells with our heads held high after an excellent tournament and a spectacular match against Rafael Nadal. We fought to the end and came close. Now, it's time to recover and think about Miami Open," Carlos Alcaraz said.

Carlos Alcaraz Rafael Nadal Indian Wells