Indian Wells Final Preview| Will Fritz end Nadal's unbeaten run in 2022?
Rafael Nadal will be eyeing a fourth title in 2022 as he reached his first Indian Wells final in nine years. The 21-time major champion is in red hot form as he extended his unbeaten run in 2022 to 20-0 with a win against fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz Garfia by 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Nadal's opponent in the final, Taylor Fritz will have a task in his hand if he is to clinch his second title on the ATP tour. The American reached his first ATP 1000 Masters final by overcoming Andrey Rublev in the semi-final.
Head to Head
The pair's only meeting was in the final of the Mexico Open in 2020, where Nadal swapped the 24-year-old in straight sets with a 6-3, 6-2 win. While forehand remains a big asset for the American star, 35-year-old Nadal is playing some of the best tennis of his career, provided that he was struggling to make the court a few months ago.
Nadal's history in Indian Wells final
This will be Nadal's fifth final in the California-based event, still a long way from Roger Federer's tally of nine finals. He holds a 3-1 W/L record in the final, with his only loss coming in the final of 2011 when a certain Novak Djokovic was in the form of his life.
However, it was the Serb who was the Spaniard's first victim in the final of 2007 when Nadal clinched his first title. In 2009, the 21-time major champion outclassed Andy Murray 6-1, 6-2 in the final. The fourth seed was also at his fluent best in 2013 when he beat Juan Martin Del Potro in an epic three-set encounter as he came from behind to win his third title at the Indian Wells.
Can Fritz break the American jinx?
Not since 2001, has an American won the Indian Wells tournament as Andre Agassi beat Pete Sampras in an all-American final. Since the 2001 final, four Americans have reached the final, but have ended second best. James Blake (2006), Mardy Fish (2008), Andy Roddick (2010), and John Isner (2012) have all made the final, but have ended on losing terms.
Piece of history for Nadal
If Nadal manages to clinch the final it will be his 37th title in the ATP 1000 Masters, equaling Djokovic for the most titles. The win will also mark Nadal's 92nd career title on tour, fourth behind Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (103), and Ivan Lendl (94). He has dropped only seven sets throughout the year and will try to get close to Federer and Djokovic, both with five titles each at Indian Wells.
On the flip side, Fritz will try to win his first ATP 1000 Masters title to add to his previous tour title of Eastbourne International 250 in 2019. His W/L record in ATP final reads 1-5.
Prediction - Nadal to win 6-2, 6-2