Rafa Nadal roared back from 5-2 down in the third set to defeat American Sebastian Korda 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(3) in the second round of Indian Wells on Saturday and remain unbeaten in 2022, Reuters reported.
According to the news agency, the Spaniard struggled to cope with a more aggressive approach from the 21-year-old in the second set after cruising through the first set in 35 minutes.
Nadal’s normally solid serve let him down in the third and he committed his seventh double fault to fall two breaks down in front of a stunned crowd before fighting back to force a tiebreak.
The veteran was then much more composed and sealed the win when Korda’s backhand landed wide.
“Everyone knows this is my favourite place to play and it is amazing to play in front of all you guys,” Reuters quoted Nadal as saying to the supportive crowd under blue skies in the Southern California desert.
“I feel very lucky today to be through. Sebastian was playing some fantastic tennis. He had his chances, but that’s tennis.”
Earlier on Saturday, newly-crowned world number one Daniil Medvedev dispatched Tomas Machac 6-3, 6-2 to cruise into the third round.
Medvedev’s powerful serve and almost impenetrable defence proved too much for the Czech qualifier to handle, the news agency added.
The Russian received a warm welcome from the crowd on Stadium One when he was introduced as the world’s top men’s player after the match.
“This is the first time I have heard this and people clapped so thanks a lot for the nice welcome,” Medvedev said.
The 26-year-old U.S. Open champion is seeking his first win at the Masters 1000 tournament.