Rafael Nadal Wins Third Straight Title with Victory over Juan Martin Del Potro in BNP Paribas Open Final

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Mar 18, 2013 12:31 AM EDT
Rafa Nadal Indian Wells
Rafa Nadal with the trophy after defeating Juan Martin Del Potro in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open(Photo : Reuters) "

 

Rafael Nadal continued his impressive comeback from a long-term injury, by winning his third straight title - the latest one coming in Indian Wells at the BNP Paribas Open.

The Spaniard, who was sorely missed during his injury-enforced seven-month absence, came back from a set down to get the better of Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The title was Nadal's 22nd ATP Masters crown, a record, while his win was his 600th, joining Roger Federer among active players to achieve that feat.

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"A lot of things happened the last seven months, (so) to be back here and to have this very heavy trophy with me is amazing," Nadal said. "Beating three top 10 players and winning a title like this is just something unbelievable for me. I'm very, very happy and very emotional."

Nadal won two of his three clay-court tournaments in a Latin American swing on his comeback, but the hard courts were supposed to be the toughest test to his knees yet. The Spaniard hardly put a foot wrong, though, despite not exactly being at his ruthless best, on his way to his third title at Indian Wells.

"When you have one comeback like I'm having, you remember all the low things, lower moments that you had during the seven months," Nadal added. "Hopefully I passed and can just remember all the people that really helped me a lot during all this time."

Del Potro, who knocked out Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, and bidding for his first ever Masters crown, admitted Nadal was the better player on the day. "I think Rafa deserved to win," he said. "The last hour of the match, he played so solid and put me so far (from) the baseline and made winners.

"But I think I (had) a good tournament anyway, and Rafa played really well today in the second and third sets. He broke me early in the third. Playing against him when the score is down is tougher. I was fighting all the time but he won in the end."

In the women's draw, Russian Maria Sharapova took the title with a straight set 6-2, 6-2 win over former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

"The scoreline looks a lot easier than I think the match actually was," Sharapova said. "I think it was a tough match, a tough battle, and there were a lot of games that went to deuce and a lot of long games.

"They could have easily swung the other way, especially some opportunities she had in that second set. I always felt like I was always a foot ahead, especially with the breaks. I was able to serve well and that helped me."

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