Nick Kyrgios' failed mission - Beating Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios met at last year's Indian Wells

by Jovica Ilic
Nick Kyrgios' failed mission - Beating Rafael Nadal
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios met in last year's Indian Wells quarter-final. The Aussie gave his everything against an in-form rival, throwing everything at Rafa and trying to end his perfect start to the season. However, the Spaniard prevailed 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, beating the Aussie for the sixth time in nine encounters.

Nadal improved to 19-0 in 2022, although he had to work hard to extend his streak. The Spaniard claimed two points more than the Aussie, delivering two breaks and emerging at the top. Nadal secured a single break in the final set, booking a place in his 76th Masters 1000 semi-final.

Rafa hit a double fault at 1-1 in the opener to experience an early break and push the opponent ahead. Nick moved 4-2 up with an ace in game six and cracked a forehand down the line winner at 4-3 to maintain the advantage. Nadal had one more chance to extend the set at 4-5 and used it nicely.

The Spaniard delivered his first break after the Aussie's loose forehand, locking the result at 5-5 and increasing the drama.

Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios in three sets in Indian Wells 2022.

Losing ground after almost winning the set, Nick lost the tie break 7-0 after a code violation and a point penalty.

The Aussie kept his composure in the rest of the clash, serving well in set number two and keeping the pressure on the other side. Rafa delivered five fine holds and looked good to introduce the second tie break at 5-6. Instead, Kyrgios broke him at 15 with a behind-the-back backhand volley winner, taking the set 7-5 and forcing a decider in just under two hours.

Nadal saved two break points in the final set's second game, ending his downfall and gaining a boost. Kyrgios survived the fifth game before hitting a costly double fault at 3-3 to spoil his chances. Nadal held at love with a forehand winner for 5-3 and emerged at the top with a smash winner in game ten.

"That one hit pretty hard. I felt like I was the one to end Nadal's streak. I played well and did everything right in the first set. I had a game plan, and everything was working. I was two points from winning the set, and I do not know how he got out to win that tenth game, especially the fourth point.

As a little kid, this is what you dream about playing these events against Nadal and the hype around it. This is the only match getting this kind of hype. Social media went wild as soon as we matched up against each other. I think it lived up to it," Nick Kyrgios said.

Nick Kyrgios Rafael Nadal Indian Wells