Fixture: (4) Rafael Nadal vs Sebastian Korda
Date: 12 March 2022
Tournament: BNP Paribas Open
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Indian Wells, California, USA
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: $8,369,455
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India- Voot (Only ATP)
Rafael Nadal vs Sebastian Korda preview
Fourth seed Rafael Nadal will square off against Sebastian Korda in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday.
The Spaniard has had an extraordinary start to the 2022 season, winning all of his 15 matches so far. Nadal started the year by winning the Melbourne Summer Set 1 without dropping a set. He beat qualifier Maxime Cressy in the final.
The 35-year-old then competed at the Australian Open and reached the quarterfinals following wins over Marcos Giron, Yannick Hanfmann, Karen Khachanov and Adrian Mannarino. He then fought off Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini to book his place in the final, where his opponent was Daniil Medvedev.
Nadal bounced back from two sets down to win a thrilling final and a record 21st Grand Slam title.
The Spaniard then competed at the Mexican Open as the fourth seed. He reached the semifinals after beating Denis Kudla, Stefan Kozlov and Tommy Paul. Nadal then beat Medvedev for the second time this year to set up a clash with Cameron Norrie in the final. He triumphed over the Brit in straight sets to win his fourth title in Acapulco.
Korda had a promising start to the season by beating 12th seed Cameron Norrie in the first round of the Australian Open. The American then beat Corentin Moutet to reach the third round, where he lost to Pablo Carreno Busta.
Korda then entered the Delray Beach Open as the fifth seed and reached the quarterfinals following wins over Thanasi Kokkinakis and Andreas Seppi. However, he was knocked out by eventual champion Norrie in the last eight.
The American suffered a first-round exit at the Mexican Open after losing to Dusan Lajovic in three sets.
At Indian Wells, Korda faced qualifier Kokkinakis in the first round and had little trouble beating the Aussie.
Rafael Nadal vs Sebastian Korda head-to-head
Saturday's match at Indian Wells will be the second meeting between Nadal and Korda. The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 1-0 after beating Korda in straight sets in the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2020.
Rafael Nadal vs Sebastian Korda prediction
Nadal will enter the contest as the overwhelming favorite given his red-hot form over the past couple of months. However, Korda is a fine young talent who has his best years ahead of him and cannot be written off.
The 21-year-old will rely mostly on his powerful serve and groundstrokes to try to put pressure on Nadal. However, he might need to take a measured approach to avoid too many unforced errors.
Nadal's all-round game is good enough to intimidate even the most experienced opponents. His most dependable weapon is his forehand, with which he will look to dictate the match against the American.
Korda is gradually rising up the rankings but will have to play out of his skin to trouble the 21-time Major winner.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in straight sets.