Nadal stays perfect in 2022, advances to Indian Wells semifinals with win over Kyrgios
Spanish star improves to 19-0 for the 3rd-best start to a season since 1990
Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 Thursday to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open in a match featuring obscenities, underhand serves, a point penalty and smashed rackets.
Nadal improved to 19-0 this year, the third-best start to a season since 1990.
For the 1️⃣9️⃣th time this year....<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IndianWells?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IndianWells</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RafaelNadal</a> <a href="https://t.co/1ESOeG4Nm0">pic.twitter.com/1ESOeG4Nm0</a>—@BNPPARIBASOPEN
Nadal will face the future in the semifinals. He'll play 18-year-old fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who beat defending champion and No. 12 seed Cameron Norrie, 6-4, 6-3.
After the post-match handshake, Kyrgios walked to his seat and smashed his racket on the court. It bounced up and away, nearly striking a ball boy standing at the back of the court. Kyrgios walked off to a mix of boos and cheers.
Nadal was on his side of the court and said he didn't see Kyrgios toss his racket after the match.
Trailing 0-6 in the first-set tiebreaker, Kyrgios was serving when the chair umpire assessed him a point penalty for an audible obscenity to a fan, giving Nadal the set. Kyrgios dropped the balls he was holding and calmly walked to his seat.
In the sixth game of the first set, Kyrgios led 40-love when he served underhanded. Nadal stepped up and bashed a forehand winner down the line. Kyrgios responded with a 140-mph ace to go up 4-2. He also had leads of 3-1 and 5-3 in the set.
Tied 3-all in the second set and serving at 40-love, Kyrgios served an underhanded ace to go up 4-3. They stayed on serve until Kyrgios broke Nadal in the 12th game. Nadal's drop shot caught Kyrgios by surprise and the Australian let loose with an F-bomb during the point. He recovered to make the return, Nadal sent it back and Kyrgios won the set with a leaping backhand volley.
Tied 2-all in the third, Kyrgios engaged with a spectator sitting next to actor Ben Stiller. Uninterested in the man's suggestions on how to play, Kyrgios replied that he didn't tell Stiller how to act.
Kyrgios double-faulted on game point to trail 4-3. Kyrgios held to lead 5-4, but Nadal closed out the 2-hour, 46-minute match by serving a love game. He set up match point with a 116-mph ace and then hit a forehand winner off a short ball.
Canadians fall in women's doubles semifinals
Later on Thursday, Canada's Leylah Fernandez and French partner Alize Cornet were eliminated in women's doubles, losing 7-5, 6-1 to Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan of China.
Fellow Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexico's Giuliana Olmos, seeded fifth, lost 6-7, 6-3, 10-5 to America's Asia Muhammad and Japan's Ena Shibahara.
Fernandez was eliminated from singles competition by defending champion Paula Badosa 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round on Tuesday.
Badosa advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Veronika Kudermetova of Russia. Badosa next plays No. 6 seed Maria Sakkari, who defeated Elena Rybakina, 7-5, 6-4.
The other semifinal features No. 3 Iga Swiatek against 2015 champion Simona Halep.