Fernandez beats Rogers to move on at Indian Wells, Shapovalov eliminated
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Canada’s Leylah Fernandez advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday.
The 19-year-old from Laval, Que., beat Shelby Rogers 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, avenging her loss to the American at Indian Wells last year. She breezed through the first set in just 25 minutes.
Fernandez faces Paola Badosa of Spain on Tuesday.
Denis Shapovalov, a 22-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., was ousted in the third round. The 13th-seeded Shapovalov dropped a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 decision to American Reilly Opelka.
Opelka faces Rafael Nadal in the fourth round. The 24-year-old American was coming off two straight finals appearances that went to tiebreakers in both sets, winning at Dallas and losing at Delray Beach, Florida.
Nadal, meanwhile, is still perfect in 2022.
The Spaniard defeated 27th-seeded Daniel Evans 7-5, 6-3 Monday in the third round, improving his record to 17-0 this year in pursuit of an ATP Tour-leading fourth title.
Nadal tied Roger Federer (2018) and Pete Sampras (1997) for the third-best overall start to a season in the Open era that began in 1968.
Daniil Medvedev’s rise to No. 1 in the world came crashing down in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss to Gael Monfils. Medvedev needed to reach the quarterfinals in the desert to stay at the top, where he replaced Novak Djokovic.
“Is it better to be No. 1 for let’s say one week in your life or never touch it?” Medvedev said. “You know, I think it’s still better to at least touch it.”
Djokovic will reclaim the No. 1 ranking next week. The Serb is unvaccinated against COVID-19, so he wasn’t allowed to enter the United States to play at Indian Wells or the upcoming Miami Open.
So far this year, no one is touching Nadal.
He became the first player to win 400 matches in ATP Masters 1000 events.
After sitting out much of last year because of injury, Nadal has been on a tear. He won titles at Melbourne, the Australian Open for his record 21st Grand Slam title and Acapulco, and is chasing a third career title at Indian Wells.
Nadal’s win over Evans under a searing desert sun ended with the Spaniard serving out the match at love. He ripped a forehand winner on triple match point.
“It’s an important victory against a tricky opponent,” Nadal said. “It’s not an easy opponent to play. He plays tactically very well, using very well his slice, then playing aggressive, changing rhythms on the points.”
Before his first match in California, Nadal withdrew from the hard-court event at Miami, which begins March 21. He turns 36 in June and is dealing with chronic pain in his left foot and tendinitis in both knees.
“I cannot make drastic changes like I did in the past,” he said, “so that’s why I decided to stop after here and to have three weeks before the clay court season starts for me.”