Sports, Tennis

Nadal ekes out Indian Wells win

Published : 13 Mar 2022 07:58 PM

Rafael Nadal pulled off another great escape Saturday, rallying from two breaks down in the third set to beat young American Sebastian Korda in the second round at Indian Wells.

As newly minted number one Daniil Medvedev -- the man Nadal beat with an epic comeback in the Australian Open final -- cruised to victory in his first match as the world's top-ranked player, Nadal was made to work by 21-year-old Korda, ranked 38th in the world.

"I feel very, very lucky today to be through," Nadal said after a 6-2, 16, 7-6 (7/3) victory in the prestigious WTA and ATP Masters hard court tournament.

"Sebastian was playing some fantastic tennis. I didn't play my best match without a doubt (but) a lot of credit to him that he played so aggressive and he put me in a lot of trouble."

Medvedev opened the action on Stadium court in the California desert and after saving a break point in the opening game had little trouble with 21-year-old Czech qualifier Tomas Machac, ranked 158th in the world.

The reigning US Open champion wrapped up a 6-3, 6-2 victory in 70 minutes, although Medvedev said it "was not as easy as it seems" after he sealed the win on a third match point.

The difference, he said, was consistency.

"If you look, the first set was pretty even. He made just a few unforced errors and maybe some bad decisions in crucial moments. That's how tennis is sometimes," Medvedev said.

Medvedev said it was a "great feeling" to take the court as world number one, "something I've always dreamed of."