Sunday, March 17, 2013

The King and Queen of Indian Wells

AP Photos
The champions of the 2013 BNP Paribas Open have been crowned.

On the men's side, World No. 5 Rafael Nadal outlasted an early surge from World No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro and defeated the Argentine 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to capture his third title (2007, 2009, 2013) at Indian Wells, California. On the women's side, World No. 2 Maria Sharapova blew past World No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 to capture her second title (2006, 2013) at the prestigious Indian Wells' event.

The women's final was no contest as Wozniacki was no match for Sharapova.  The 25-year old Russian demolished the 22-year old Dane in a match that lasted only an hour and 21 minutes. It was all Sharapova. Period.

The men's final was a little bit more competitive as del Potro controlled the match in the first set and early in the second set. But once Nadal found his groove it was all downhill for del Potro and at times it was clear that fatigue was getting the best of him. Not only fatigue from Nadal's punishing game but all the fatigue from his gut-wrenching wins against World No. 3 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Asking del Potro to defeat 3 of the Big 4 in a single tournament was simply just too much. He gave it his all against Nadal but in the end Rafa's game was just too overpowering. Nonetheless it was a great tournament for del Potro.

For Nadal, 2013 has been a storybook year thus far after a 7-month absence due to a knee injury. He is now 17-1 for the year, playing in 4 tournaments, making the final in all 4 and winning 3 titles. His only blemish was his final's loss in his first tournament of the year in Chile to a guy named Horatio something. The 17-1 start is the best start of his legendary hall-of-fame career. And this is supposed to be a work in progress. You know, a comeback.

For 99.9% of players comebacks are usually a slow process but Nadal is making it look easy. How he has been able to do it is beyond anyone? I guess only he and the laws of physics know. Incredible!

AP Photo

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