Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Russian Daniil Medvedev started off with victories in the first Masters 1000 of the 2022 season played at Indian Wells in the United States. Nadal needed three sets to advance, while the new world number one made it to the third round in straight sets this Saturday.
Unbeaten this season, Nadal defeated young local Sebastian Korda 2 sets to 1 to claim his 16th win of the year with 6/2, 1/6 and 7/6 (6/3). The current world number four will now face Britain’s Daniel Evans, who led Argentina’s Federico Correa (Guillermo’s younger brother) 6/2 and 6/0.
In fine form, Nadal won the three tournaments he played in the season: the ATP 250 in Melbourne, the Australian Open and the ATP 500 in Acapulco. Lifting the trophy at the Australian Grand Slam, he defeated Swiss Roger Federer and Serbian Novak Djokovic, breaking the record for tournament titles at this level with 21 trophies.
Despite the momentum, Spanish tennis player Indian Wells has certainly fallen short of competition after the Miami Masters 1000, also in the United States. Tournament organizers confirmed this Saturday that Nadal would not compete. He has already indicated that he should alternate competitions on the circuit so as not to overload a chronic injury to his left leg.
Debut as No.1
In his first match with the leaderboard position, Medvedev defeated Czech Tomas Machak 6/3 and 6/2. His next opponent would be Frenchman Gael Monfils, who led Serbian Filip Krajinovi 6/3 and 6/4.
Earlier in the week, the Russian tennis player received a trophy marking the top of the rankings for the first time. He ousted Djokovic, who dropped points in the rankings for failing to defend his Australian Open title last year – he was relegated for failing to vaccinate himself against Covid-19.
The men in Serbian Indian Wells also miss out on the singles category and will be even less in Miami as the US takes proof of vaccination upon entry into the country. Serial’s absence could pave the way for Medvedev to increase his lead at the top of the rankings.
In other results for the day, Spaniards Carlos Alcaraz and Roberto Bautista Agut, local Reilly Opelka, Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, Briton Cameron Nori and Norwegian Caspar Rudd advanced.
Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, seeded second at Indian Wells, made 10 double faults on her debut and was surprised by Italian Jasmine Paolini, 2/6, 6/3 and 6/3. The fall of the current number three in the world is the biggest upset of the women’s tournament so far.
The other chiefs did not disappoint. Estonian Annette Kontaveit (4th) defeated Slovakian Kristina Kukova 6/4 and 6/1, while Greek Maria Sakkari (6th) defeated Czech Katarina Siniakova 6/3 and 7/5. Czech Petra Kvitova (27th), the owner of two titles at Wimbledon, also defeated Belarusian Aliksandra Sasnovi 6/7 (4/7), 6/4 and 6/4.
Apart from this, Czech Marketa Vondrosova (30th), Belgium’s Elise Mertens (20th), Kazakh Elena Rybakina (17th) and Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic (31st) also won.