With his withdrawal from Miami already announced, Rafael Nadal will be able to go all out in Indian Wells in an attempt to win his first title here since 2013 and fourth overall. He plays Daniel Evans next, looking to further improve on his 16-0 record in 2022.
A more mature Evans the last few years has seen the Brit maintain a decent level of consistency, helping him to remain within the top 50 for the last three years. He dealt with one of the weaker players in the draw with ease, defeating Federico Coria for the loss of just two games.
Down 2-5* in the decider to an inspired Sebastian Korda on Saturday, it looked like Nadal was finally ready to suffer his first loss of the season. Somehow, he mounted a stunning comeback to finally beat the young American in a final set tie-break. “He started playing a lot different, he moved closer to the baseline. I could see that he was a little worried, changing up his tactics. Just didn’t play good games, and he took advantage of it.” Korda said afterwards in regards to the closing stretch of the match.
Evans is not going to be able to do damage with the backhand in the way Korda did and Nadal should be able to target this well throughout. The day off will also aid the the fourth seed who will have been physically and mentally drained after his win against Korda. The winner plays either Denis Shapovalov or Reilly Opelka in round four.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets