Nadal wins Indian Wells thriller

Published by Tennismash/Reuters

Rafael Nadal celebrates his third-round victory over Fernando Verdasco at Indian Wells; Getty Images

Spaniard Rafael Nadal has saved five set points to beat Fernando Verdasco at Indian Wells and gain revenge for his Australian Open defeat to his compatriot.

Nadal posted a 6-0 7-6(9) victory after recovering from 6-3 down in the tiebreak and saving two more set points at 7-8 and 8-9.

“I feel lucky to win the tiebreak but, at the same time, I played well with not many mistakes as I went for the points,” Nadal said.

“I lost matches similar to this one in Australia, in Buenos Aires and in Rio de Janeiro, so it’s important for me to win matches like this.”

The win sets up a fourth-round clash with teen star Alexander Zverev of Germany, whom Nadal described as a “a possible future No.1”.

Nadal lost to Verdasco – his doubles partner in Indian Wells – in five sets in their last outing, which came in the first round at Australian Open 2016.

Verdasco had won three of the pair’s previous four meetings coming into Tuesday’s match.

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