Rafael Nadal dug deep to beat Quicksilver wildcard Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster quarterfinal match that lived up to the hype at Indian Wells on Thursday, setting up a clash with compatriot youthful Carlos Alcaraz to earn a place in the finals .
Indian Wells: Rafael Nadal beats Nick Kyrgios in fiery affair (AP Photo)
- Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 on Thursday
- Nadal meets teenage sensation Alcaraz in a generational struggle
- Nadal improved to 19-0 this year, the third-best start
Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Indian Wells semi-finals in a match filled with profanity, sneak serves, a point penalty and smashed racquets. Nadal improved to 19-0 this year, the third-best start to the season since 1990.
“I think I played a good third set,” Nadal said in an on-court interview. “I hit back better, I was solid on my serve. Nick is one of those players that you will struggle with when he’s motivated, so I’m happy to win.”
Nadal, 35, meets teenage sensation Alcaraz in a generational battle on Saturday after the 18-year-old defeated British champion Cameron Norrie in a convincing and electrifying performance 6-4, 6-3.
“It’s tough to play against Rafa, but I’ll enjoy the day, enjoy the match. You don’t play against your idol every day,” said Alcaraz after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. He also became Indian Wells’ youngest semifinalist since American Andre Agassi in 1988.
“I think he’s unstoppable in terms of his career,” Nadal said of Alcaraz. “He’s got all the ingredients, the passion. He’s humble enough to work hard. He’ll no doubt be a great rival for now and for the next few months.” As a selfish person, it’s great to have such a star from my country… I wish him well.”
“He played a few points well and got away and he does,” said Kyrgios. “That makes him great.”
Alcaraz reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final after winning 17 of his last 18 games. He clinched a tournament title in Rio de Janeiro last month.