Indian Wells: Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece came within two points of defeat before clawing his way back into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(5) win against Jack Sock of the US here on Sunday (IST).Also Read - Rogers Federer Confirms His Participation in Laver Cup 2023; Says I Will Be There, Supporting From a Different Position
Tsitsipas will next meet another American, the fast-improving Jenson Brooksby, who claimed a 6-0, 6-3 win over Olympic silver medallist Karen Khachanov of Russia. Also Read - Rafael Nadal Pulls Out Of Laver Cup Due To Personal Reasons
Also, Spanish stalwart Rafael Nadal entered his 15th BNP Paribas Open with a 15-0 record in 2022, his career-best start to a season, needing a great 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(3) escape to keep that streak intact against Sebastian Korda of the US. Also Read - Rafael Nadal's Emotional Goodbye to Roger Federer at Lavers Cup Would Make You Teary-Eyed
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev also earned his first victory as the world No. 1 with the 26-year-old defeating qualifier Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the third round. Medvedev will meet Gael Monfils of France, who fired 13 aces in a 6-3, 6-4 win over Serb Filip Krajinovic.
Sock, who slammed 28 forehand winners to be on the cusp of his first top-10 win since 2017, lost to Tsitsipas’ big-match experience as the American made two unforced errors to let the Greek back into the contest.
“It was a crazy battle; we both left everything out there,” Tsitsipas said. “Jack played incredibly well at times but I was able to bring out the best in my game at the end. I proved I could play aggressive tennis and stay calm at the same time.”
Despite serving up nine double faults, world No. 13 Denis Shapovalov of Canada rallied from a set down to defeat Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 12-6 on the season. The Canadian will meet top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, who did not face a break point in his 6-1, 6-4 win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti.
Defending champion Cameron Norrie of Great Britain recovered from an early break in the opening set to claim a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win over Pedro Martinez of Spain. The Brit next plays Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, who received a walkover from Italian Fabio Fognini.
Korda held a double break advantage at 5-2 in the third set and twice served for the match against Nadal. But just as in the Australian Open final, the Spaniard managed to turn the match around after looking down and out against an inspired opponent.
“I thought I was lost today… and in Australia, very similar feeling,” Nadal said to atptour.com. “But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to keep trying or keep fighting.
“Even if I think I’m going to lose the match, my mindset before returning that 5-2 game is, ‘OK, I am playing bad, I had two breaks, but even if I’m going to lose, I’m going to try to finish the match having some better feelings.’ So I need to fight to find these better feelings in that last game,” added Nadal.
“I feel very, very lucky today to be through, honestly,” said the fourth seed, who credited Korda for his aggressive play. “Sebastian was playing some fantastic tennis and I’m sorry for him. He had chances, but that’s tennis. He’s very young, he has an amazing future. I wish him all the best.”
Nadal next faces 27th seed Daniel Evans of the UK, a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Federico Coria of Argentina.
Medvedev, after saving a break point in the first game of the match, settled in for a dominant victory over a 21-year-old Machac, who was seeking his first top-10 win.
“I think I was pretty consistent,” Medvedev said of his performance. “If you look at the first set, it was pretty even. He made a few unforced errors and maybe some bad decisions in the crucial moments. That’s how tennis is sometimes.”