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Medvedev Loses match to Gael Monfils and No. 1 ATP Ranking, Rafa Nadal marches on in Indian Wells| BNP Tennis

Gael Monfils of France (L) greets Daniil Medvedev of Russia (R) at the net after their match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 14 March 2022. Monfils upset Medvedev in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. EPA-EFE/JOHN G MABANGLO

By Ricky Dimon

After Novak Djokovic withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open, the draw was severely skewed in the top half’s favor.

Key point: was.

Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal, the two best players in the world right (at least among those who actively participate in tournaments), were on a collision course for the semifinals instead of the final. But that is a semifinal that won’t end up happening after Medvedev went down to Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 during third-round action on Monday afternoon.

Thus the door to another title for Nadal–who has won all three of his tournaments so far this season–has become even more open.

It also means that Djokovic will get back to No. 1 in the world next week.

“Definitely not pressure,” Medvedev responded when asked if the pressure of having to win to stay in the top spot was a factor. “I thought it could give me more motivation. I had motivation. It’s just that, yeah, as I say, I didn’t find my best tennis.

“Well, now I know I’m going to lose [the No. 1 ranking], so I have Miami to try to get it back. Usually feeling a little bit better in Miami in terms of tennis, so we’ll try to play good there…. Of course I want to be [in the No 1 spot] for a long time winning many slams, and yeah, you know, be there as many weeks as possible.”

Rafael Nadal stopped Dan Evans at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

Nadal knows a thing or two about that. He also knows quite a lot about winning matches at the Masters 1000 level. The 35-year-old earned his 400th career Masters Series win when he defeated Dan Evans 7-5, 6-3 on Monday. Nadal recovered from a 4-2 deficit in the opening set to get the job done in one hour and 43 minutes.

It was by no means a perfect performance by the Spaniard, but it was an improvement from his near-disaster against Sebastian Korda on Saturday.

“(I am) improving a little bit…. Yeah, (it was) a positive win for me, no? (I’m) happy to save that tough moment in the first set; then the things went a little bit better later.

“If you compare my level of today to the semifinals or the final of Australia, (it) is worse without a doubt. But what can happen after tomorrow? I can’t tell you. Can be bad, but at the same time can be very good…. When you are playing very well, you have one bad day, you can come back to the high level very soon. You never know what can happen.

“It was very important that I can win these first two matches without playing fantastic, but today was a little bit better than the first day.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.