It was the meeting that everyone was waiting for and the truth is that it did not disappoint at all. Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz they even withstood hurricane-like winds in Indian Wells, but it was the king who emerged victorious in the duel between king and prince. Not for lack of reply or attempts from the prince, but Rafa’s 20th victory in as many matches this season and access to the 53rd final of his career in the Masters 1000 tournaments, this time in Indian Wells.
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But the triumph was anything but simple. Rafa closed with the partials 6-4, 4-6 and 6-3, after 3:12, the wind making everything even more complicated and unpredictable at one point. The 35-year-old veteran surpassed the 18-year-old prodigy for the second time in his career, in a game filled with truly fantastic moments, with winners, counterattacks, bunts. In short, a bit of everything, in a duel that will remain etched in the history of tennis.
Alcaraz stormed into the game and broke to make it 2-0, but Nadal started to gradually progress and turned to 4-2 looking to control the game. But the youngster didn’t turn his face to the fight and restored the equality, before Rafa managed to break again to make it 6-4. To give you an idea, in the first set alone, the 35-year-old Spaniard had… 17 break points and took advantage of three.
In the second game, the story changed…with the wind blowing wildly. It was all up in the air on center court and a five-break streak only ended when Alcaraz served to make it 6-4 and force a partial third with the marathon already in place. But the wind died down and the level reached surreal proportions again in the third game. Nadal saved three break points at 2-2, took advantage of what he had 4-3 and did not flinch at the close.
This way, Nadal qualifies for the final in the Californian desert and will be looking for his fourth title this season. Ahead will be North America Taylor Fritz, who will play his first career final in a tournament of this category. A duel between David and Goliath, therefore.