Tennis·ROUNDUP

Nadal stays perfect in 2022, advances to Indian Wells semifinals with win over Kyrgios

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.

Spanish star improves to 19-0 for the 3rd-best start to a season since 1990

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Nick Kyrgios of Australia during their quarter-final match in the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press)

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.

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.

Nadal won three straight games to lead 6-5 in the first. On the changeover, Kyrgios angrily tossed his racket. He gave the bent racket to a young boy in the stands.

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.

The interaction didn't deter the Aussie. He fought off a break point and took a 3-2 lead with back-to-back aces at 140 mph and 137 mph.

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.

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