Tennis: Indian Wells Men's Semi-Finals Preview

Taylor Fritz [20] v Andrey Rublev [7]

One of the most consistent players on the tour at the moment, Rublev is enjoying his best ever run at Indian Wells in six tries, but staggeringly this will be his fourth ATP semi-final in a row, as he bids to win his third straight title this season.

So what does Fritz have to do to get past the human wall that has become Rublev? He returns to the semi-final stages in the desert for the second straight time but has the pressure of those points to defend now.

The crowd will get behind the first American to make back-to-back semi-finals at Indian Wells since Andy Roddick, and his run here puts him back at the top of the US rankings, after briefly losing the tag of American No. 1 to Reilly Opelka.

Their head-to-head is actually tight and interestingly Fritz has won both encounters in Masters, including their first meeting at Indian Wells (2018). But a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, and Rublev has emerged as one of the strongest members of the chasing pack to the Big Three.

Rafael Nadal [4] v Carlos Alcaraz [19]

What is there to say about Rafael Nadal in 2022? For someone who wondered whether a foot injury would end his career, Nadal is unbeaten so far, but has encountered a few challenges along the way but the three-time former Indian Wells champion is undoubtedly the man to beat at the moment.

So step forward a young man who used to idolize Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz. There is more than a whiff of Master and Apprentice about this and whichever way you cut it, this is the ultimate in NextGen versus Old Guard,

Alcaraz has yet to drop a set this tournament, which is more than Nadal can say. Does it help that Alcaraz faces constant comparisons to the young Nadal’s feats? Probably not, but so far he has handled it with aplomb and even though two of his titles are on clay, Alcaraz won the Next Gen finals and has more than proved that he doesn’t need the ‘Prince of Clay’ label attached to him in terms of comparisons to Nadal.

While Nadal leads their head-to-head, Alcaraz has really emerged as a force to be reckoned with since he was schooled by his idol last year at the Madrid Masters.