Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Miami Open after aggravating a thigh injury.

Former world number one Halep was due to face Australia's Daria Saville in the round of 64 on Thursday but felt unable to contest the match.

Halep said she sustained a thigh injury during her Indian Wells semi-final defeat to Iga Swiatek the previous week and it caused her discomfort again while training on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old two-time major winner expects to sit out the Charleston Open and will miss the start of the Billie Jean King Cup.

In a tweet posted on her official Twitter account, Halep wrote: "While I was practising in Miami yesterday I felt a sharp pain in my left leg.

"I had been struggling with the thigh since my semi-final in Indian Wells and hoped it would improve, but I went for an MRI last night and unfortunately it showed a tear.

"My body needs time to heal and as a result I will be out of competition for three weeks. This means I have had to make the super tough decision to pull out of Miami, Charleston and Fed Cup [Billie Jean King Cup].

"While it feels like really disappointing news to share, I am keeping the confidence from my great start to the year and am motivated to do everything to be ready for the clay-court season.

"Thanks for your continued support through the highs and lows."

Lucky loser Harmony Tan will take Halep's place in the draw.

 

Rafael Nadal is facing new injury concerns, after Taylor Fritz ended his unbeaten streak for 2022 in the Indian Wells Masters final on Sunday.

Having to take a medical timeout during his win in the semi-final against countryman Carlos Alcaraz, the 35-year-old was forced into another injury break against Fritz, before losing 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Nadal, whose 2021 was halted mid-year due to foot injury after back pain at the start of the season, ultimately rued his inability to fully compete against Fritz.

"I had pain, honestly. I had problems breathing," he said post-match. "I don't know if it's something on the rib, I don't know yet. When I'm breathing, when I'm moving it's like a needle all the time inside. I get dizzy a little bit because it's painful.

"It's a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It's not only about pain, I don't feel very well because [it] affects my breathing."

Nadal's 20-match unbeaten streak for 2022, which saw him claim the Australian Open and Acapulco titles in the process, also came to an end on Sunday. The world number four said the streak ending before coming into the clay season provides particular sadness.

"Honestly, I wanted to make it perfect before clay. [It] has been very, very, very beautiful," Nadal said.

"Honestly, I am sad because the way I was not able to compete. It's tough to have these feelings….but in the final it's very, very ugly. But in sport it's not about talking of the past, we need to talk about today. And today is a difficult day for me. "

Nadal commended Fritz on the victory, however. The 24-year-old claimed his maiden ATP 1000 title despite carrying an ankle injury.

According to the 21-time grand slam winner, it is a sign of things to come from the American, who had to back up from a tough win over Andrey Rublev in the semi-final on Saturday.

"Victories like today help. He played well. He went through some great matches during this week I think, especially yesterday," he said.

"A lot of credit to him on the victory of yesterday. In my opinion, his victory of yesterday is much bigger than his victory of today because he had [a] much tougher opponent in from yesterday.

"He already played great matches in Australia, this year if I'm not wrong, against [Stefanos] Tsitsipas.

"It's obvious that he is improving. With this victory, it's a great start of the season for him. He will have a chance to be very close if not in the top 10 very soon."

Taylor Fritz had never experienced "worse pain in my life before a match" before overcoming an ankle injury to end Rafael Nadal's winning start to the season and win the Indian Wells Masters on Sunday.

The American 20th seed, who has never been further than the fourth round at a major, claimed a breakthrough maiden ATP Masters 1000 title with a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory over Nadal in two hours and six minutes.

Fritz, 24, was not sure if he would be able to take his place in Sunday's decider after tweaking his ankle in Saturday's semi-final win over Andrey Rublev which he battled in the lead-up.

The injury was far from ideal preparation coming up against the Spanish fourth seed, who was on a 20-0 run to start 2022 having won January's Australian Open for a record-breaking 21st career major.

"I can't even begin to describe how ridiculous it is that I was able to play how I could play today," Fritz said during his post-match on-court interview. "I've never ever experienced worse pain in my life before a match.

"If I knew it was going to be that bad, I wouldn’t have come out here [beforehand] because I think people saw it. I took a couple of change-of-direction steps and screamed.

"I was trying to act tough as I had cameras on me. It probably looked like I was over-exaggerating the pain with how loud I screamed when I felt it.

"We did a lot of work leading up to the match. I went through a roller-coaster of emotions before the match, from thinking there's no way I could possibly play then to doing so much work on the ankle and going out again hitting on one of the backcourts and being really happy, thinking I can play.

"Really it didn’t affect me out on the court. Unbelievable."

California native Fritz, who reached last year's Indian Wells semi-finals, admitted winning the event was a "childhood dream" and that it did not feel real.

"I'm going to have to hold back tears for every single interview I do and every on-court speech," he said. "This is going to be tough. I'm such a happy crier.

"This is one of those childhood dreams, winning this tournament especially, you never thought would come true. I keep saying 'no way this is real'."

The title is the biggest of Fritz's career to date, triumphing in his first Masters 1000 final, and becoming the first American men's champion at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001.

Fritz is also the youngest male champion at the event since Novak Djokovic in 2011 and achieved that by ending Nadal's career-best 20-match win streak, denying him a record-tying 37th ATP Masters 1000 title too.

"I've lost these matches against the big guys my whole life," Fritz said. "It's always felt like they're unbeatable. To do it on the biggest stage, there's no other way. To win a big title, I feel like you've got to beat the best."

Taylor Fritz spectacularly claimed his first ATP 1000 trophy on Sunday, defeating Rafael Nadal 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to win the Indian Wells Masters.

Having only won once in his previous five finals, against Sam Querrey at Eastbourne in 2019, the 24-year-old displayed distinct maturity under pressure despite carrying an ankle injury.

The Spanish world number four's undefeated streak coming into Sunday's final ended at 20 with the loss.

For Fritz however, his first Masters title coming in as many finals was difficult to process, especially against an opponent in Nadal in front of his home crowd.

"I've lost these matches against the big guys my whole life," Fritz said in his on-court interview. "It's always felt like they're just unbeatable, so to do it on this stage, you have to beat the best."

"This is just one of those childhood dreams, winning this tournament especially at Indian Wells. This is one of those childhood dreams that you just never think will come true. I just keep saying 'no way this is real'."

Both faced pressure under their respective serves, but Nadal ultimately failed to capitalise on opportunies, converting only twice out of a possible 10 break points.

His 34 unforced errors in comparison to Fritz's 22, in such a closely contested match, contributed to the eventual result.

Fritz overcame his ankle concerns to race to a 4-0 lead in the first set before Nadal, facing his own physical challenges, took a medical time-out after losing the first set.

Nadal saved a championship point to force a tiebreak in the second set. Reflecting the pressure he was under after going down a mini-break, though, the Spaniard's ground strokes teetered dangerously close to the baseline.

The 35-year-old even made rare approaches to the net to turn defence into attack, amid some thrilling exchanges from the baseline, but a scuffed volley from mid-court to set up another Fritz championship point was the last straw despite displaying his trademark doggedness.

Rafael Nadal extended his 2022 win streak to 20 matches and clinched a spot in his fifth Indian Wells Masters final after a thrilling three-set victory over compatriot Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday.

The fourth seed lifted in the final set to win 6-4 4-6 6-3 over 19th seed Alcaraz in three hours and 12 minutes, with Nadal to play American Taylor Fritz in Sunday's decider.

The match was played amid blustery conditions, particularly the second set, where debris flew on to the court regularly interrupting or delaying play, which appeared to impact Nadal more.

Alcaraz had more winners (41-24) but also more unforced errors (34-26), with Nadal finding another gear when it mattered in the final set.

Nadal's victory improved his record to 20-0 this season, earning him a fifth Indian Wells Masters final spot and his first since 2013. The Spaniard won the Indian Wells crown in 2007, 2009, 2013 and was runner-up in 2011.

The 35-year-old also clinched a berth in his 53rd Masters final, keeping him on track for a 37th title at this level. 

The 21-time major winner claimed the decisive break in the eighth game of the third set after a physio break for treatment on his back, before serving out to-love for victory.

"In the second, the conditions became crazy, honestly," Nadal said during his on-court interview. "It was not funny playing in this wind. In terms of tennis it was OK but in terms of stopping all the time, it was not good.

"In the third I think I played much better. I played much more aggressive. I am super happy. Being in the final means a lot to me."

Alcaraz had started the better to open up a 2-0 lead in the opening set, before Nadal responded emphatically.

There were five breaks in a row in the second set, including the Spanish teenager going ahead 5-4 after a game lasting almost 20 minutes, converting his seventh break point, before serving out the set.

As the conditions settled, Nadal showed more aggression, coming into the net with regularity before taking the key break in the eighth game.

American 20th seed Fritz reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final with a 7-5 6-4 victory over seventh seed Andrey Rublev in one hour and 50 minutes.

The California native is the first American male to reach the Indian Wells since John Isner in 2012.

"It's just unreal, really. It doesn't even seem real. I'm just trying to take in the moment, regroup and come back tomorrow for the final," Fritz said in his on-court interview. "But it's a dream come true."

"Today I definitely played my best match of the tournament so far. I was so much more aggressive from the ground and so much more solid [with] my ground strokes, whereas [in] other matches I was maybe playing a bit safer.

"I really tried to take it to him and impose my game today. I did it well, so that helped a lot."

Iga Swiatek defeated Simona Halep 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 at the Indian Wells Open on Friday, progressing to the final and extending her winning streak to 10.

The Polish world number four came back from a break down in each set - as well as saving two set points in the first-set tiebreak - to level her head-to-head record with Halep at 2-2.

After taking out the WTA 1000 tournament in Doha last month, Swiatek has not had it all her way this week in California. Aside from a 6-1 6-0 trouncing of Madison Keys, the 20-year-old had to fight from a set down in her opening three matches.

Following a tight first set, Halep won three games in a row to take a 4-2 lead, but it was here Swiatek started to open up on return of serve.

She was ultimately able to capitalise on Halep's second serve, winning 14 of a total 21 points when given a second look, to earn five service breaks for the match.

Swiatek is now at least guaranteed to reach a career-high world number three ranking with, and a win in the final would move her to number two, only behind Ashleigh Barty.

She will meet Maria Sakkari in the final on Sunday, who broke down in tears after her hectic 6-2 4-6 6-1 win over Paula Badosa in the late match.

Despite Badosa having a higher first-serve rate than her opponent in the first set at 53.9 per cent, Sakkari was all over the second serve, winning nine out of a total 12 points.

After powering through the first set with flat hitting, the Greek world number six lost momentum in the second and forced play with rushed shot selection after getting broken early.

She still managed one of the shots of the match in trying to save that break of serve, scrambling across court to hit an underarm pass down the line.

Badosa kept her composure on serve to take the second set, winning 21 out of 29 points at an improved 72.9 per cent. Sakkari regrouped and exhibited her unique court coverage, however, taking the win after getting an early break.

Sakkari immediately broke down in tears afterwards, upon making her first WTA 1000 final and defeating the defending champion at Indian Wells.

Andrey Rublev made his fourth ATP Masters semi-final on Friday, dispatching Grigor Dimitrov in under 90 minutes at Indian Wells in a 7-5 6-2 win.

Dimitrov had only faced two break points for the tournament until this quarter-final, and Rublev capitalised when his opponent’s serve evaded him. Rublev was returning with particular focus, getting 85 per cent of points back across the court on Dimitrov's first serve alone.

Rublev broke in the fifth game of the first set on the back of two double faults, but Dimitrov secured one of his own with a trademark backhand pass. The 24-year-old Russian answered right back to regain breathing room and close out a tight first set.

Securing the break in the third game of the second, that consistent pressure on Dimitrov's serve again forced two double faults in the fifth game. From there at 4-1, Rublev saw the finish line.

The win was the seventh seed’s 13th in a row, adding Indian Wells to semi-final appearances at Miami, Monte Carlo and Cincinnati. A win in the final would equal a career-high 15 matches in a row undefeated.

"I think I played really well. In the beginning, it was more about who will be the first to dictate and play more aggressive, because both of us like to dictate with our forehand," Rublev said afterwards.

"The return [of serve] was one of the most important things. If you can bring as many returns as possible [into the court], and then here with these conditions, in some moments it's tough to serve."

In Friday's other quarter-final, Taylor Fritz did it tough against the unseeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, winning 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-1.

While Kecmanovic was content playing defence and grinding from the baseline, Fritz was the more active and it was most apparent at 5-5 in the first set.

Down 0-30, Fritz stood and delivered from the middle of the baseline with a booming forehand, before securing a critical hold.

The difference in tactics showed in the eventual winner differential, with Fritz's 35 in comparison to Kecmanovic's 15. Despite Fritz's relatively low unforced error count, he still gifted Kecmanovic the second set, serving three consecutive double faults to surrender the break at 3-4.

He regrouped and reeled off the opening five games of the third set, setting up his semi-final with Rublev. The other semi-final will see Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz meet in an all-Spanish duel.

Nick Kyrgios should face "severe" disciplinary action after a ball boy was almost struck by the Australian's smashed racket, one of the best-known coaches in tennis has said.

American Brad Gilbert, a former tour player who has worked with stars including Andre Agassi and Andy Murray, was taken aback by the tantrum from Kyrgios after a three-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells.

Kyrgios went to the net to shake hands with Nadal, who won 7-6 (7-0) 5-7 6-4 to reach the semi-finals.

But moments later he thrashed his racket against the ground. It bounced up high, travelling half the length of the court and causing a ball boy to take evasive action, stepping out of the way to avoid being hit and potentially hurt.

Kyrgios scornfully answered reporters' questions about the incident after the match, describing it as "a complete accident".

However, the 26-year-old unmistakably lost control in front of a full stadium and could face punishment as a result.

Gilbert wrote on Twitter: "Ridiculous to do that after such a good match, the penalty should be severe."

Gilbert questioned whether that would happen, given the ATP, which runs the men's tour, only handed a suspended eight-week ban to Alexander Zverev, plus a fine, after the world number three violently hit his racket against an umpire's chair.

"Unfortunately ATP lost the plot with Zverev situation and not a good look for kids and our sport," Gilbert wrote.

The 60-year-old Gilbert, who also coached Andy Roddick, said there was "absolutely no reason to snap on court after the match".

He added: "The stick could have easily gone anywhere like the stands and hit someone, seriously awful to see that in front of great crowd."

Kyrgios posted an exchange of text messages with the ball boy, and said he would give him a racket as a token of apology.

Saying sorry for the incident, Kyrgios wrote: "Didn't want it going anywhere near you to be honest."

Two top-ten talents have booked a date in the Indian Wells Open semi-final after Maria Sakkari and Paula Badosa won their quarter-finals in straight sets. 

First up, world number six Sakkari took on Ukrainian Elena Rybakina, prevailing 7-5 6-4.

Rybakina won the first three games of the match, working her way to an early 4-1 lead, before her Greek opponent rattled off six of the next seven games to claim the first set.

Sakkari again faced adversity early in the second set, coming back from 40-0 down in the second game to hold serve, before breaking the very next game to pinch the match-winning lead.

Rafael Nadal did it tough against Reilly Opelka on Wednesday, eventually winning his way through to the quarter-finals at the Indian Wells Masters.

Nadal displayed an abundance of tactical nous, nullifying the American’s big hitting and service game to emerge the 7-6(6-3) 7-6(7-5) winner.

Along with a 76 percent first-serve rate, Opelka hit more winners with 26 for the match, but the 35-year-old Spaniard was able to grind out points from the baseline with his trademark heavy topspin. As a result, Nadal’s winner/unforced error differential was +14 in comparison to Opelka’s +1.

"He is one of the toughest opponents on tour," Nadal said post-match. "It is very tough to control his weapons with his serve and forehand.

"I think I played my best match of the tournament so far today. I am very pleased with how I was able to win the match, with two difficult tie-breaks. This victory means a lot to me."

The highest ranked player left in the draw, Nadal will now face Nick Kyrgios, who progressed to the quarter-finals after Jannik Sinner withdrew with illness.

Matteo Berrettini made a shock exit, meanwhile, losing 6-3 6-7(5-7) 6-4 to unseeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

The Italian world number six was put under constant pressure, with Kecmanovic targeting his backhand and hovered the baseline to close the angles on serve.

The 22-year-old’s only other top 10 victory came against Alexander Zverev, also the world number six then, at Cincinnati in 2019. He will now face Taylor Fritz, who defeated Alex de Minaur 3-6 6-4 7-6(7-5).

Also on Wednesday, Grigor Dimitrov edged past John Isner 6-3 7-6(8-6). In his unique style, the Bulgarian 33rd seed came up with the shot of the day, flicking a forehand pass across the visibly stunned Isner.

He will face Andrey Rublev, who defeated Hurbert Hurkacz 7-6(7-5) 6-4. In Wednesday’s other results, Carlos Alcaraz Garfia comfortably defeated Gael Monfils 7-5 6-1, while Cameron Norrie accounted for Jenson Brooksby 6-2 6-4.

Former world number one Simona Halep emphatically dispatched unseeded Petra Matric 6-1 6-1 in Wednesday's quarter-final at the Indian Wells Open.

Halep landed 75 per cent of her first-serves and won those points at a rate of 82 per cent (27/33).

Martic's serve commanded much less respect, as she landed 69 per cent of her first-serves, but only won 36 per cent of those points (8/22).

After holding in her first service game, Martic allowed Halep to rattle off six consecutive games, with three double-faults assisting her Romanian opponent.

With the win, Halep booked a semi-final matchup against Poland's number three seed Iga Swiatek after she prevailed in her meeting with American Madison Keys in similar fashion.

Paula Badosa went a step closer to defending her Indian Wells Open title as she ended Leylah Fernandez's run to reach the quarter-finals.

Badosa was calm under pressure against last year's US Open runner-up, saving five out of the six breakpoints she offered up in a 6-4 6-4 success.

Matters were less routine for third seed Iga Swiatek, who held her nerve to come back from a set down against three-time major champion Angelique Kerber.

Breakpoints were contested in six of the match's first eight games and Kerber made the big points count, but Swiatek went on to triumph 4-6 6-2 6-3.

Swiatek, 20, showed grit beyond her years as she broke Kerber's serve four times in the second set, cleaning up her first-serve percentage while the German was only able to win 31 per cent of her successful first-serves (4-13).

Both women hit over 70 per cent of their first-serves in the final set, with the difference coming down to the return game, where Swiatek won half of her return points (12-24), with Kerber struggling (5-22).

Swiatek will face American Madison Keys, who defeated Harriet Dart in a brisk 69 minutes, while Badosa goes up against Veronika Kudermetova, who overcame Naomi Osaka in contentious circumstances earlier in the tournament.

Rafael Nadal sympathises with Naomi Osaka over the abuse she was subjected to at Indian Wells, but says athletes must be prepared to deal with it "as nothing is perfect in life".

Osaka was reduced to tears as she crashed out of the Indian Wells Open with a 6-0 6-4 third-round defeat to 21st seed Veronika Kudermetova on Saturday.

A member of the crowd could be heard shouting "Naomi, you suck" after the four-time grand slam champion had been broken in the first game of the match.

Osaka approached the chair umpire to report the incident and held further discussions with the court supervisor after being insulted again.

While accepting there is no place for such conduct, 21-time grand slam winner Nadal believes players should learn to cope with hostile environments.

"These kind of questions are tough to answer because, in some way, the easy answer for me is I feel terrible about what happened, that never should happen," he told reporters.

"The real thing, in the real world, that happens, you know? I feel very sorry for her. We are having, in my opinion, a great life. 

"We are very lucky people that we're able to enjoy amazing experiences because of our life, because we are tennis players. We make money.

"Even if is terrible to hear from that, we must be prepared for that. We need to resist these kind of issues that can happen when you are exposed to people. 

"At the same time, as we like a lot when the people are supporting, when something like this happens, we need to accept and move forward.

"I understand that probably Naomi, she suffered a lot with his probably kind of issues that she has, mental [health] issues. 

"The only thing that I wish for her is to recover well from that and wish her all the very best. But nothing is perfect in this life. We need to be ready for adversities."

Speaking shortly after the incident, an emotional Osaka said being targeted by the spectator reminded her of abuse the Williams sisters were subjected to at the same event.

Serena and Venus Williams were the victims of verbal abuse at the tournament in the Californian desert back in 2001.

The siblings' father, Richard Williams, claimed he had been racially abused at Indian Wells, while Venus Williams said she "heard whatever he heard".

Daniil Medvedev, who will concede his status as world number one back to Novak Djokovic from next week, said he can relate to how Osaka felt after recently hitting out at the "disrespectful" crowd at the Australian Open.

"I didn't see it with my own eyes, and I didn't watch the videos after, so I just heard it from someone who heard from someone, so I don't want to go too much into it," he said.

"It's tough for everybody because I can feel for Naomi. I mean, I felt not great in Australia. 

"You know they're [the players] getting millions. They should be ready for everything. At the same time, we're humans. We all make mistakes, good decisions. 

"Sometimes we feel bad. Sometimes we feel good. I can understand that Naomi didn't feel that great when she heard it and I can completely understand her feelings.

"Life would be easier if everybody would be calm and not angry but, even talking about me, I get angry, so I should be better also."

Novak Djokovic will return to the top of the ATP rankings after Daniil Medvedev fell to a brilliant Gael Monfils comeback at the Indian Wells Open.

Medvedev was beaten 4-6 6-3 6-1 by Frenchman Monfils, with the reigning US Open champion only able to connect on 50 per cent of his first serves, while he was broken three times in the decider.

For Monfils, the win earns him a spot in the fourth round against Carlos Alcaraz, while the loss means Medvedev will lose his position as world number one after only two weeks.

Speaking to post-match media, Medvedev said while he will work hard to earn the top-ranking back, starting in Miami next week.

"Is it better to be number one for, let’s say one week in your life, or never touch it?" he said. "I think it's still better to at least touch it.

"Now I know I'm going to lose it, so I have Miami to try to get it back. [I'm] usually feeling a little bit better in Miami in terms of tennis, so I'll try to play good there.

"I thought it could give me more motivation, well, I had motivation. It's just that I didn't find my best tennis."

World number five Anett Kontaveit slipped out of the Indian Wells Open after a 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5)  loss to Marketa Vondrousova.

Kontaveit was the second-highest seed remaining in the tournament entering Monday's play, and appeared to be on her way through to the fourth round after breaking twice in the opening set.

Yet Vondrousova got the better of her Polish opponent in a topsy turvy second set, forcing a decider that starter in frantic fashion, with a concession of serve in each of the opening five games.

Vondrousova held to end that street yet was pulled back to 4-4 by a resurgent Kontaveit, though the Czech world number 33 eventually closed the match out at the fourth time of asking in the tie-break to tee up a clash with Veronika Kudermetova.

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