Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten run ends as the Spanish star loses the Indian Wells final to the spirited Taylor Fritz

Rafael Nadal’s 20-game winning streak of the season ended on Sunday when he lost to local hope Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells Masters final.

Nadal, struggling with chest pains, lost 3-6, 6-7 (5) to Fritz, who overcame an ankle injury to become the first American to lift the title at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi over two years ago .

Home favorite Fritz gave fans what they wanted to see – a heroic performance and an American winner who denied Nadal his fourth title of the season and a record-breaking 37 ATP Masters 1000 championships.

Taylor, who won his second career title, said he wasn’t even sure if he would reach the final due to excruciating pain after suffering an ankle injury.

“It’s just one of those childhood dreams that you think will never come true,” Fritz said.

“I can’t even describe how ridiculous it is how I could play today.

“I’ve never experienced worse pain before a game in my life.

“If I had known it was going to be this bad, I wouldn’t have come out here. I took a few steps to change direction and screamed and honestly I was trying to play hard because I had cameras on me,” he added.

PAINS LIMITS ME A LOT: NADAL

Meanwhile, Nadal has been dealing with a chest problem he picked up during an epic three-set semifinal match with 18-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.

“When I breathe, when I move, it’s like a needle inside all the time. I get a little dizzy because it’s painful,” Nadal said.

“It’s a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It’s not just about pain, I don’t feel very good because it affects my breathing.

“More than sadness at the loss, (it’s) something I accepted immediately and before the end of the game… I’m suffering a little, to be honest.”

Brave Nadal

Nadal said last week he will not compete in the Miami Open, which immediately follows the Indian Wells tournament.

The 35-year-old Spaniard was clearly out of form early in the game when Fritz broke him twice en route to taking a 4-0 lead.

But as so often before, Nadal refused to wave the white flag, twice holding serve and breaking the American to go 5-3, sending a buzz through the packed stadium.

Fritz regrouped and halted Nadal’s rally with a third break to take a one-set lead.

At the end of the opening sentence, Nadal called for a medical time-out and returned to the court with a new intention.

Nadal, one of the game’s great contenders, forced the second set into a tie break, but in the end the hard-hitting American proved too strong.

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