18th of March 2013 Author: Glo Wood
Rafael Nadal continued his amazing return to action with a hard-fought success over Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The Spaniard, playing his first hard-court tournament in whole year after a severe knee injury, won 4-6 6-3 6-4. This is his third title in 2013, after he claimed clay-court titles in Brazil and Mexico since his comeback in February. Nadal has confirmed he will not play in Miami next week.
Nadal will feature in Europe's next clay-court tournaments and his confidence is surely great at this point as he has surpassed all expectations, ending the first stage of his comeback with victory in one of the biggest hard-court tournaments in tennis, competing against the world's best players. "The support since I came back has been huge. It's an unforgettable week for me and an unforgettable tournament," said Nadal.
Del Potro played a brilliant final himself, following surprise wins over Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in the previous rounds. The Argentine came back from 0-3, 15-40 to take the first set. Then he moved a break up in the second set and he had victory in sight at a set and 3-1 up. Nadal fought back though with the help of his big forehands and won five games on the trot to take the match into a decider.
The Spaniard broke with a forehand winner in game three but Del Potro fought on and rescued an impossible situation at 0-40 and three match points down in game nine. Nadal wrapped it up eventually and collapsed to the ground after the match point. "I started the match playing fantastic, then Del Potro started playing a little more aggressive," said Nadal, winning his first hard-court title since 2010. "In my opinion, I tried to change too early against his forehand. I was playing much too aggressive for my game. When I was able to calm myself, I began to play better. I started to play a little bit slower; my movement was unbelievable. Then I play a fantastic match."
Nadal will now start preparation for the biggest clay-court tournament in the world, the French Open at Roland Garros in May. He is the favourite to win the tournament at Bet365, priced at 1/1, while Djokovic is priced at 5/4 and Murray at 15/2.
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