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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Injured Fritz ends Nadal’s winning streak and wins Indian Wells title

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The injured Taylor Fritz ended Rafael Nadal’s 20-match winning streak by defeating the Spaniard 6-3 7-6 in the Indian Wells final, becoming the first American to win the title since Andre Agassi more than 20 years ago. .
And Fritz gave his fans what they came to see: a heroic performance and an American winner, to deprive Nadal of his fourth title of the season and 37th in the Masters Championship.

Fritz, who was being treated for an ankle injury, said after winning his second career title that he was hesitant to even step on the pitch and had never felt so much pain before a match.

But the 24-year-old American took the plunge and was rewarded with the biggest title of his career, ahead of his 21-time Grand Slam champion.

“This is just one of those childhood dreams that you think will never come true,” Fritz said. “I’ve never felt worse pain before a match.

“If I had known it was going to be this bad, I wouldn’t have come here. I took several steps to change direction and honestly yelled that I was trying to look tough because I was on camera.”

“We worked a lot before the game and I had mixed feelings before the game thinking there was no way I could play today.”

There were concerns about the players’ preparation ahead of the final.

While Fritz was struggling with an ankle problem, Nadal suffered a chest injury during his three-set win over 18-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals.

The 35-year-old Spaniard was clearly offside early in the match, and Fritz broke twice to take a 4-0 lead.

But as he had done so many times before, Nadal refused to raise the white flag and twice held his serve and broke the American to make it 5-3 on the scoreboard, before the emotion of the fans that filled the stadium.

Fritz gathered his strength and stopped Nadal’s lead with the Spaniard’s third break of serve to take the first set.

At the end of the first set, Nadal requested treatment time and returned to the court with renewed enthusiasm.

The second set went to a tie break, but in the end the big American serve proved much stronger than his Spanish opponent.

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