Rafael Nadal qualified for the fourth round of the Indian Wells Master 1000. The 35-year-old Spaniard, after a painful comeback victory in the second round against Sebastian Korda, in which he recovered in the decisive set the disadvantage of 2-5, has imposed himself more easily against the 27-seeded Daniel Evans with a score of 7-5 6-3, obtaining the 17th victory of the season in as many games and reaching 400 career matches in the Masters 1000.
The Spaniard, down 2-4 in the first set, was able to get 8 of the following 9 games, closing the first set with a score of 7-5 and defending in the second the break obtained in the second game. In the round of 16 Nadal will face host Reilly Opelka, who eliminated 13th seed Denis Shapovalov in three sets (6-7 6-4 6-4).
At the end of the game Nadal analyzed his success and talked about his current level. The champion from Manacor, to the microphones of the journalists, said he was satisfied with the result obtained, despite a false start.
"Evans is a player who, tactically, plays very well. He uses his slice very well and then he is aggressive, changing the pace a lot in the points. I think it's a very positive win and I'm happy to have saved that difficult moment in the first set.
I think my serve today was better than the previous match. My feeling is like that, at least. I was able to get more wins with my forehand, something that wasn't working for me the other day. I know the start wasn't perfect, but I started feeling the ball better and was able to change direction more often.
I need to keep improving, of course, but it was a small improvement today. This is important because the next round will be very difficult," said Nadal, busy against the big serve Opelka in the next round. The 21-time slam champion also talked about his renunciation of the next 1000 masters scheduled in Miami next week: "I haven't played this tournament for a few years.
I am almost 36 years old and have played a lot more than expected this season. For my body, surface transitions aren't easy. If I played in Miami, I wouldn't have time to rest and prepare for clay. It would be a dangerous thing for my foot and my knees.
I need to make the transition step by step and not make a drastic change like I have in the past, so I decided to stop a little after this tournament, to have a little over three weeks to prepare for the clay tour."
The Spanish champion was cryptic on the finish line of 400 wins in the Masters 1000. "I didn't know that at all, but they are good numbers, of course," said Nadal.