Rafael Nadal to Face Roger Federer in the BNP Paribas Open Semifinals

Rafael Nadalis set to face one of his biggest rivals…

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis star has advanced to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open after defeating Karen Khachanov 7-6 (2), 7-6.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s victory sets up his 39th career meeting with Roger Federer, their first meeting in 16 months.

Neither Federer nor Nadal has dropped a set in four matches in the desert. Federer has been broken just once, and Nadal has dropped serve three times, twice against Khachanov.

Nadal stands in the way of Federer’s pursuit of a record sixth title at Indian Wells.

Nadal’s right knee flared up for the first time during the tournament in the second set. He called for a trainer, who applied tape just below the knee. The trainer returned again with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second set.

“My goal and my idea is be ready for tomorrow,” said Nadal, who holds a 23-15 edge in his rivalry with Federer. “I cannot guarantee how I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning.”

Knee problems have dogged Nadal in recent years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the US Openin September.

“I love to play on hard [courts], but probably my body doesn’t love it that much,” Nadal said. “As I say before, is not only about today, is about tomorrow. Maybe we’re going to pay the price at the age of 45 or something. That will be not nice. When I see some old legends walking around the tour, is tough to see.”

Juan Martin del Potro Breaks Roger Federer’s 17-Match Win Streak to Win BNP Paribas Open Title

Juan Martin del Potro has taken down a living legend for his first ATP Masters 1000 title…

The The 29-year-old Argentine tennis player  has ended World No. 1 Roger Federer‘s 17-match win streak to claim the BNP Paribas Open title at Indian Wells.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro beat Federer 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-2) in a thrilling final.

Federer had been searching for a record sixth title in California, but it was del Potro who powered to his first ATP Masters 1000 title.

He’s the first player to beat Federer in 2018.

del Potro saved three match points before closing out victory in two hours 42 minutes.

del Potro has been hampered by wrist problems in recent years and has had three operations which left him struggling to use his backhand.

But he has made a strong start to 2018, winning his first ATP 500 title for five years at Acapulco earlier in March and returning to the world’s top 10.

del Potro claimed a stunning four-set win over Federer at the US Open in September last year, but Federer won their last meeting in Basel a month later.

del Potro forced the only break of the first set and made just three unforced errors to Federer’s 11 as he closed out the first set in 39 minutes.

“It’s difficult to describe with words. It’s like a dream,” Del Potro said. “After all my problems, after all my surgeries, I couldn’t believe I’m here winning a Masters 1000 and beating Roger. It’s amazing.”

Juan Martin del Potro Advances to Finals at the BNP Paribas Open

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the finals at the BNP Paribas Open

The 29-year-old Argentine tennis player defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic in straight sets to advance to the finals against Roger Federer at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro breezed past No. 32 Raonic 6-2, 6-3 in 66 minutes for his 10th consecutive match victory and the 400th of his injury-plagued career.

“It was surprising to see him [Raonic] serving not too hard, and I broke his serve very quick in both sets,” del Potro said. “That gave me the control of the match.” 

del Potro has fought back from left wrist surgeries in 2014 and 2015 (twice) and another one on his right wrist in 2010 that nearly caused him to quit tennis. He is 16-3 this year with one title in Acapulco.

“I didn’t play him before his injuries, but his backhand was probably one of the things that was overlooked because the forehand was so hard,” Raonic said. “But the backhand, I remember when he won the U.S. Open, he could hit it crosscourt without any guys being able to have the freedom of running around or anything. He’s gotten that back quite a bit.”

del Potro previously appeared in the finals back in 2013, losing to Rafael Nadal 4–6, 6–3, 6–4.

Juan Martin del Potro Advances to Semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open

Juan Martin del Potro survives scare to advance at Indian Wells.

The 29-year-old Argentine tennis player has earned a spot in the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro defeated Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semis.

For a second-straight match, the world No. 9 found himself needing to win two straight sets after a sluggish first.

del Potro was out of sorts when this match started, having trouble with the way Kohlschreiber was mixing things up. The German was moving del Potro around as much as he could, and he was also making excellent use of the drop shot.

del Potro would not stay down for long. The new set invigorated del Potro, who took out some frustration on his racquets. Settled in, he took care of business in the second set to force a decider.

The third set was even more straightforward, as del Potro began to play his best tennis right when Kohlschreiber started to play his worst. del Potro’s forehand was at its fearsome best late in the match, and Kohlschreiber was unable to handle it.

The icing on the cake for the world No. 9 came when he gave Kohlschreiber a taste of his own medicine, utilizing a drop shot of his own to help hold serve and go up 4-2 in the third.

del Potro will face 32nd-seeded Milos Raonic on Saturday.

Nadal Makes History with 10th Title at the Monte Carlo Masters

It’s a perfect and historic 10 for Rafael Nadal

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star easily defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-3 in an all-Spanish final at the Monte Carlo Masters to become the first men’s tennis player in the Open era to win the same title 10 times.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, who showed Sunday he’s likely the best ever on clay, won his 50th career title on his favored surface, moving him one clear of Argentine Guillermo Vilas.

The next big challenge for Nadal will be winning a 10th French Open title. The last of his 14 Grand Slams was three years ago in Roland Garros.

“I want,” Nadal said after Sunday’s game, a smile breaking across his face. “I really want it, too.”

It was Nadal’s 70th career title but his first of the season, having lost his previous three finals — two of those to Roger Federer.

The only final Nadal has lost at Monte Carlo was to Novak Djokovic in 2013.

“Winning 10 times in such an important event like Monte Carlo is something difficult to describe,” Nadal said. “My serve worked great. I have been hitting very well on backhand during the whole week. The forehand is better and better every day.”

Ramos-Vinolas wasn’t a threat to the defending champion.

Appearing in his first Masters final, the 15th-seeded Ramos-Vinolas saved three break points in his first service game and was 0-40 down in his next. Nadal served out the set in 30 minutes with an ace.

“He was a little bit better in everything. When he’s a little bit better in everything, the difference is what we saw,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “Last time I played against him, I felt that on [his serve] it was my chance to put some pressure. But today I felt that he was serving so good.”

Nadal’s 29th Masters title moves him one behind Djokovic’s record. He will also have his sights set on a 10th title in Barcelona next week — Nadal’s previous career title was there, almost one year ago.

Since then, Federer has beaten him in finals at the Australian Open and the Miami Masters, on either side of Nadal’s loss to big-serving American Sam Querrey in the final at Acapulco, Mexico. Federer also beat Nadal in the fourth round at Indian Wells.

“[This title] arrives in just the right moment, I believe,” Nadal said. “Winning here is an important step forward for me.”

Nadal’s 70 titles are three better than Djokovic, who is a year younger. Nadal is fifth on the all-time list, but seven behind John McEnroe. Further ahead, the 35-year-old Federer has 91; Ivan Lendl 94 and Jimmy Connors is a long way away with 109.

Garcia Defeats No. 5 Seed Ana Ivanovic at the BNP Paribas Open

Caroline Garcia is shaking things up at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells …

During Monday’s women’s action, the 21-year-old part-Spanish professional tennis player sent No. 5 seed Ana Ivanovic packing after a three-set thriller in the third round.

Caroline Garcia

Garcia, the No. 25 seed, defeated Ivanovic 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

It appeared Ivanovic would lose in straight sets as she was down 5-4 in the second set with Garcia serving to possibly close out the match, but Ivanovic mustered a three-game streak to keep herself alive, even if briefly.

In the third set, with Garcia serving while ahead 3-2, the game went back and forth in deuce, before Garcia pulled through. From there, she cruised to victory.

It’s Garcia’s second victory over Ivanovic this year. She previously beat the Serbian player in straight sets in the semifinals at the 2015 Monterrey Open. She’d eventually lose to Timea Bacsinszky in the final.

Garcia, currently ranked No. 28 in the world, will next face No. 24 seed Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round.

Nadal Considering Pulling Out of Indian Wells Tournament

Rafael Nadal may not be headed to The Golden State next week after all…

The 26-year-old Spanish tennis star may pull out of next week’s tournament at Indian Wells, Calif., to show mercy on his frail knees from the hard courts, according to ESPN.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal said he loves the tournament, which he won in 2007 and 2009, but says he has to protect his knees and stay healthy for the European clay-court season, which ends with the French Open.

He didn’t say whether he would play at Key Biscayne, Fla., where he’s reached the final three times, after the Indian Wells tournament.

“My intention is to go to Indian Wells,” said Nadal after reaching the second round of the Mexican Open. “This is the truth because I love this tournament and the priority is to play. But if I don’t feel comfortable playing and decide to wait to play on the hard courts, that’s how it will be and I’ll rest for the clay-court season (in Europe). But today I can’t answer.”

Nadal has been critical of playing on hard courts, suggesting it has caused the knee injuries that are threatening his career. This month in Brazil, he said the ATP was not doing enough to protect players’ health, saying the increased number of tournaments on hard courts will lead to long-term injuries that will affect the players even after they retire.

“I said the truth. I don’t know if I’m going to go or not,” Nadal repeated. “It will depend on how I feel every day and every week.”

Nadal said the condition of his healing left knee, which caused him to take a seventh-month break from competition, was still day-to-day.

“Even when the knee is perfect I had some days better than others. Right now I have had three days in which the knee has felt fine and that makes me happy, that we’re going in the right direction,” Nadal said.

Nadal has so far restricted his comeback to events on softer clay. This month, he reached the final in Chile and won in Brazil.