Indian Wells Flashback: Rafael Nadal arranges ultimate clash with Novak Djokovic
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3763
After not playing well at the start of 2011, Rafael Nadal was ready for a better run in Indian Wells. Rafa prevailed over Ivo Karlovic in the quarter-final and advanced into the last four for the sixth straight year in the desert.
Nadal set the semi-final clash against Juan Martin del Potro, seeking revenge following three notable losses in 2009. Rafa beat Juan Martin 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes following a grueling battle to advance into the title clash against Novak Djokovic.
Nadal beat del Potro for the fifth time in eight encounters and the first since Indian Wells two years ago. Rafa served at 56% and played well behind the first and second serve. The Spaniard fended off two out of three break points and grabbed three breaks to emerge at the top and remain on the title course.
Nadal had 23 winners and 20 unforced errors. He left his opponent on a 12-26 ratio and prevailed in the shortest and most extended rallies to reach the first final of the season.
Rafael Nadal reached the 2011 Indian Wells final over Juan Martin del Potro.
Del Potro fended off a break chance in the encounter's first game to avoid an early setback.
He moved 2-0 in front when Nadal sprayed a forehand error in the second game and cemented the breaks with a hold in game three. The Spaniard regained composure in the next couple of games. He produced two comfortable holds and pulled the break back with a backhand down the line winner in game seven to get back on the positive side.
Losing ground completely, Juan Martin netted a forehand in the ninth game to suffer another break and fall 5-4 behind. Nadal served for the opener in game ten and produced a fine hold to wrap up the first set 6-4 in 55 minutes.
The Spaniard rattled off six of the previous seven games to steal the opener and gain a boost. Ready to fight until the end, del Potro earned two break chances in the second set's fourth game with a backhand down the line winner.
Nadal denied them and leveled the score at 2-2 before cracking a backhand down the line winner in the next one to clinch a break and move in front. A service winner pushed the Spaniard 4-2 ahead, and he fired more winners at 4-3 to remain in front.
Juan Martin gave his best to stay in touch, but Rafa held at love at 5-4 to seal the deal and secure a place in the final.