Tennis

Taylor Fritz ends Rafael Nadal’s 20-match win streak with win at Indian Wells

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — American Taylor Fritz upset Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (5) Sunday to win the BNP Paribas Open and snap the 21-time major champion’s 20-match winning streak this year.

« It’s an honor to even be on the same court as this guy, » Fritz told the crowd. « I grew up watching this guy win everything. »

Nadal fought off a match point on his serve with a forehand winner to tie the second set 5-all. He had two break points on Fritz’s serve in the next game, but the American held for a 6-5 lead. Nadal held to force the tiebreaker.

Nadal feels two straight forehands well wide to set up Fritz’s second match point. Another Nadal error sent the 24-year-old American to the biggest victory of his career not far from where he grew up near San Diego. Fritz’s parents, Guy Fritz and Kathy May, are former tour players.

« Winning this tournament is just one of those crazy childhood dreams that you don’t think is ever going to happen, » he said.

Fritz dropped his racket and collapsed on his back. He got up smiling with a look of disbelief on his face. He became the first American man to win Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001 and earned $1.2 million in the process.

Nadal’s 20-0 start to the year included the Australian Open, his 21st major championship that broke a tie with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

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The Spaniard needed three sets to get by Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals and 18-year-old countryman Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals. During his win Saturday, Nadal needed treatment for pain in his left chest.

Nadal took two medical timeouts during the match. The first one came after he lost the first set. He went inside with a trainer after tapping his upper left chest, the same area that bothered him during Saturday’s semifinals. He got treatment on court after falling behind 5-4 in the second set.

« I tried my best during the last two weeks, » Nadal told the crowd. « Today was not possible. I had a good fight to the end. »

Fritz had his own health issue. He tweaked his ankle late in his semifinal win over No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev. He cut short a practice session early Sunday and blue medical tape could be seen above his high sock.

But it didn’t seem to affect him.

Fritz raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set, breaking Nadal twice. Nadal got a break back in closing to 5-3, but his backhand error gave Fritz another break and the set.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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