Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will not have a third member of the Armada in the round of 16 of the Indian Wells men’s draw. Jume Munar (99th in the world), putting an end to his particular dream, bids farewell to the United States after losing to Taylor Fritz (20th) in the third round. 6-4, 2-6 and 7-6(2) in a generational duel, both are 24 years old, clashing in styles and resolved in the tie-break. The power of Fritz (48 winners), who will face Álex de Miñaur (31st) in the round of 16, was able to overcome the serenity and wisdom of Munar, excellent in many stages, but unable to take advantage of the many unforced errors from the United States (40 to 18). Despite this, the Balearic player, who in his two previous participations in the tournament (2019 and 2021) said goodbye in the first round, He has signed his best appearance in a Masters 1,000 and sits in the Top 100 of the ATP ranking, where the national representation is already 11 tennis players. You can smile proudly.
No one had worked as hard as Munar for his presence in the third round of the tournament. He was the only tennis player who, having played all the previous ones, was left standing. Bruno Kuzuhara, Aleksandar Vukic, the historic Juncheng Shang, the first Chinese player in a Masters 1000 main draw, and Pablo Carreño, in an excellent Spanish derby. All in one week. All to challenge, for the first time, a Firtz who, at home, is an institution. At 24 years old, he is the present and future of American tennis. He finished 2021 as the best national player and, currently, only Reilly Opelka, Nadal’s next rival, is ahead. The reason, reaching the semifinals of Indian Wells after saving two match points against Alexander Zverev.
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Despite the newspaper library, or taking it as an impulse, the ranking and the locality, Munar left emboldened. Confident in his chances and threatening to break from the first game. Subtracting well inside the track and, after only a couple of points, forcing Firtz to gesture for calm. And even liking it. For proof, several majestic balloons. One, at 40-0 in game five, to return the American to his position cursing under his breath. Another, to force the deuce at 3-3 in the first set, which lasted until twelve minutes and forced Taylor to protect himself from six break chances.
a cruel end
Stoicism, although not a universal law, is usually rewarded. The crossroads strengthened Fritz. After his eternal suffering, a fleeting blow to break Munar, with a blank game to close the first set. He gives and gives. The Balearic, already in the second round, kept it for himself and returned the break with twice the force. First, with the same forcefulness, in the third assault; later, in the seventh, with a ball from Fritz that included a new meaning of despair in the dictionary. Along the way, two schools, two ways of understanding tennis and a constant (without) living on the wire (7/9 break balls saved by the Spanish side and 9/12 by the American). Taylor, with a tenacious but somewhat uncontrolled right hand; Jaume, going up to the net, testing the backhand, the volley and attacking and defending from different heights. That’s how Munar is and that’s how he reached a third set that was cruel to him. Again against the current to finally stay on a shore that sees, no longer a future, but a promising present.
Indian Wells Masters 1,000 results.