Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios Indian Wells 2022 QF Preview

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Undoubtedly the highlight of Thursday’s order of play, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios will face off for the ninth time in their careers. An inspired and firing Kyrgios has been a thorn in Nadal’s side, with three wins from eight so far. The last two wins for Nadal were also very tight four setters where the Spaniard went 4-0 in tiebreaks across the two matches at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

Kyrgios barely played in 2021, leading to the Australian beginning the year outside the top 100 – a place he had stayed in since his 2014 Wimbledon run. It’s hard to know how much to read into his performances here with both Sebastian Baez and Federico Delbonis much more comfortable on other surfaces. However, he followed it up with another dominant performance against Casper Ruud in the third round – not facing a single break point. He was due to face Jannik Sinner in the fourth round before the Italian withdrew ahead of the match.

Nadal does remain unbeaten on the year after edging through two tiebreaks against Reilly Opelka. It was especially impressive in the second set where he recovered from a break down to eventually force the tiebreak. “It is very tough to control his weapons with his serve and forehand. I think I played my best match of the tournament so far today. I am very pleased with how I was able to win the match, with two difficult tie-breaks. This victory means a lot to me.” he said afterwards.

Nadal is going to be many levels above the opponents Kyrgios has played so far so it will be interesting to see how the Australian rises to the occasion. The courts at Indian Wells are perhaps a little slower than he would like but with a lights-out performance he does have a chance of pulling off the shock win. However, the regularity of those does seem to be reducing and Nadal should be able to ride the storm enough to advance and move to 19-0 on the year.

Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets

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