The 21-time Major champion Rafael Nadal is through to the Indian Wells final following a hard-fought victory over Carlos Alcaraz. The veteran is now 20-0 in 2022, scoring all wins on an outdoor hard court and earning a massive record.
Nadal’s win over Alcaraz was his 954th on outdoor courts, becoming the most successful player in the Open era and leaving Roger Federer on 953! Dealing with a knee injury and undergoing three surgeries, Roger has won only 14 matches since the start of 2020.
Rafa took advantage of that and reduced the deficit to his great rival despite having issues with injuries himself. The Spaniard missed the second part of 2021, but it was clear he would pass Roger’s number at some point in 2022.
No one could have expected that by Indian Wells, but the Spaniard has stopped the clock again to embrace a 20-win streak and celebrate his 954th outdoor ATP victory.
Rafael Nadal is the first player with 954 ATP outdoor wins.
Not knowing what to expect from his foot after such a long break, Nadal kicked off the current season in Melbourne, not playing at his best but conquering a small ATP 250 event.
It was the first ATP title for Rafa since May last year, and it also gave him a boost ahead of the Australian Open. Passing a couple of challenging obstacles, the Spaniard reached the sixth Melbourne final and faced Daniil Medvedev.
Rafa trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before performing one of his most thrilling comebacks in a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory after five hours and 24 minutes. Nadal lifted the record-breaking 21st Major crown and made his season already a memorable one, especially after playing two matches in 2021 after Roland Garros.
The Spaniard went to Acapulco and defeated five rivals in straight sets to secure the third title of the season and extend his streak. Heading to Indian Wells with 949 ATP outdoor wins, Rafa grabbed five to pass Roger and add another excellent record to his tally.
Nadal trailed 5-2 against Sebastian Korda in the second round and delivered two crucial breaks in the last moments to prevail in the tie break and avoid an early setback. The Spaniard beat Daniel Evans in the third round and overpowered Reilly Opelka in two tie breaks to find himself in the last four.
The veteran spent six hours on the court against Nick Kyrgios and Carlos Alcaraz, enduring all the obstacles to emerge at the top and advance into the 53rd Masters 1000 final. With 89 ATP titles and 954 wins, Nadal is the most decorated outdoor player in the Open era, chasing the 90th ATP outdoor trophy on Sunday against Taylor Fritz.