Nadal beats GB’s Evans to continue run

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Rafael Nadal
Nadal is still unbeaten in 2022 having won the Melbourne Summer Set, Australian Open and Mexican Open

Rafael Nadal proved too strong for Britain’s Dan Evans as he continued his phenomenal form in 2022 by reaching the last 16 at Indian Wells.

Evans broke early and led 3-1 and 4-2 but Nadal broke serve twice to win the opening set 7-5.

The Spaniard, who has not lost in 2022 and has 17 straight wins, broke early in set two and sealed a 7-5 6-3 win.

Elsewhere Daniil Medvedev lost his last-32 match against Gael Monfils and will lose his world number one ranking.

Medvedev’s position at the top of the rankings will last just three weeks and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will become world number one from Monday.

Frenchman Monfils secured a 6-4 3-6 6-1 win by converting his sixth match point against Medvedev. In celebrating his surprise win over the Russian he pointed to his Ukrainian wife Elina Svitolina in the stands.

“I’m in my zone and I’m a tough opponent for anyone,” said 35-year-old Monfils, who will play Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz in the last 16.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve beaten a world number one, so I’m pretty happy. I’ve had a strong start to the year, felt strong, moving good.”

Alcaraz, seeded 19, advanced to the last 16 with a confident 6-2 6-0 demolition of compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut, the 15th seed.

But world number four Nadal, who staged an epic fightback to beat American Sebastian Korda in the previous round, remains the man to beat.

The 35-year-old said: “I have been playing after a couple of games better and better. That is important for confidence and playing against a good opponent like Dan is good for me.

“I think the match at the beginning was difficult. He put me under pressure going to the net. It was not easy to put him in tough positions. I hit a couple of important passing shots at important moments. Then after the first set things went to go a little bit more better.”

Nadal will play American Reilly Opelka or Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in the next round.

Elsewhere on Monday in the women’s draw, Greece’s Maria Sakkari, looking to build on a breakout 2021 which included two Grand Slam semi-finals appearances, reached the last 16 by overwhelming the Czech Republic’s two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-0.

Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova beat Estonian fourth seed Anett Kontaveit 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5) in a match that lasted two hours and 50 minutes.

‘A bridge too far for Evans’ – analysis

BBC Sport tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

Evans started so well, leading 4-2, but the 21-time Grand Slam champion eventually reeled him in.

If you are Evans you can’t get too down on yourself. It’s always going to be hard to beat a player like Nadal. He has done amazing things in his career and I’m not saying he can’t beat him one day. It’s just a bridge too far.

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