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And now the stage is set – Taylor Fritz against Rafael Nadal in the final of Indian Wells. Is it the final we all thought it would be? No. But is it a final that could well be a classic? Absolutely. On the one hand, we have the great Spaniard, gunning to win his 37th Masters 1000 title. And on the other, we have Taylor Fritz, who will be attempting to win his first. As a matter of fact, Fritz has won just one ATP title in his career.
As for Nadal, well – that’s a whole other story. He is arguably the greatest player of all-time at this point, and at 35 years of age, he is still schooling half of the ATP Tour. However, this final might not be quite as straightforward as people think. The pair have actually only played one time back in 2020, and Nadal won quite easily.
But Fritz is a different player now from what he was back then. So how will this game play out? Let’s take a closer look.
Fritz vs Nadal – The Duel in the Desert
Many people expected Nadal to be in the finals given his outrageous form this season. But not many truly thought that Taylor Fritz would be there. However, the stage is set, and I have a few thoughts on how this one might play out.
Fritz Hitting Huge
If you’ve seen Fritz play in recent times, you’ll know that he likes to hit big and take control of the points. And against a guy like Nadal, this is something you have to do. I am sure that he will be taking his backhands early and trying to dictate with the forehand as much as possible. Of course, he will also be going big with the serve, and he may even put a little extra juice on the second serve too.
Nadal Targeting the Backhand
As he has done so successfully throughout his career, Nadal will no doubt be avoiding the Fritz forehand like the plague. Just as he did against Alcaraz in the semis, I feel he will work the heavy forehand towards Fritz’s backhand. This allows him to open up the court and then target the forehand only when Fritz is out of position. At the same time, Fritz will be trying to take those looping forehands on the rise.
Whether he will do this successfully or not, however, remains to be seen.
Overall Prediction – Nadal for the Win
I think at the end of the day, Nadal is just too experienced at this level. Obviously, Fritz has youth on his side, and the crowd will get behind him massively I’m sure. But will this be enough to get him over the line to win his very first Masters title? Well, I’m not too sure. Nadal is in sensational form, and he really does seem unbeatable at the moment, no matter how tough things are looking.
So my gut feeling here is that Nadal will take the win, but it could well be a three-setter if Fritz plays well.