Nadal Nabs Sweet 600th in Victory at Indian Wells
Rafael Nadal won his third title in four events and his 22nd Masters title with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over a valiant Juan Martin Del Potro. Nadal started the first set strong, but Del Potro stepped up his game to break and take it, dominating with his forehand and holding serve. In the second, things began to change though, as Nadal began to wear down the tired Argentine. In the third, he broke early and held on to finish off the physically and mentally demanding match in which Del Potro did as much as he could to prevail.
Nadal had previously rumbled past Ryan Harrison, got a walkover into the round of 16. Then he dealt with a red-hot Ernest Gulbis in three sets, in a match where yet again his opponent threw everything but the kitchen sink at him but still couldn’t win it. Next, he defeated a hobbled Roger Federer in straights (in what was a lackluster meeting between the two legends) and gritted past a top form Tomas Berdych in straights.
Nadal will once again return to the top four, surpassing Ferrer. He has to be considered a de facto top two or three in the world right now, and fully back after the injury setbacks he had dealt with for half a year. As tennis now heads towards the clay court season, he will remain a feared opponent by everyone on tour. Rafa will skip Miami and get some rest.
Del Potro crushed his early round opponents Nikolay Davydenko, Bjorn Phau and Tommy Haas before coming back from a set down to beat Andy Murray and a set down to shock Novak Djokovic (who simply ran out of gas in the end) to make the final. Del Potro-Djokovic was the match of the tournament, and the Serb was simply in awe of what Del Potro was able to bring to the table in their meeting. JPDM showed the kind of form he hasn’t really shown since 2009 before the wrist injury bothered him. This is also a much better Del Potro than we saw at the first part of the year.
Semifinalist Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini, Grigor Dimitrov, Sam Querrey and Jo Wilfried Tsonga. The quarterfinal against Tsonga was a pure clinic. Semifinalist Berdych beat Mischa Zverev, Florian Mayer, Richard Gasquet and Kevin Anderson.
In the doubles, the Bryan Brothers completed the “career Masters Grand Slam” by winning their first career Indian Wells title over Treat Huey and Jerzy Janowicz,. The Brothers surpassed yet another career goal.