(March 13, 2013) No. 5 Rafael Nadal ended the run of qualifier Ernests Gulbis on Wednesday 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 at the BNP Paribas Open to snap the Latvian’s 13 match win streak and to extend a streak of his own to 11.
The Spaniard leapt into the air, took off his headband and pumped his left arm in victory after sealing the win.
The win for Nadal sets up a quarterfinal clash with Roger Federer. The Swiss defeated countryman Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 earlier in the evening in a day session which ended at almost 10 pm at night
Nadal, back on the tennis tour since last month, after being out for seven months due to a left knee injury, spoke to media about his level of play.
“I said before the tournament my knee some days good, some days not that good,“ Nadal answered. “Today so‑so.”
Nadal said that he fought for every ball:”I tried my best in every moment. I know I cannot go to some balls that in the past I went today, but I will do it in the future.
“So win matches in days like today are more important than ever for me, and very happy about what I did on court. Happy about the attitude. With all the problems I was able to keep being focused and keep winning.
Today every victory is very important to me, and I really appreciate every moment and every victory.”
Gulbis said, “I feel bad. I wanted to win, of course.”
“Okay, if you want my match analysis,” Gulbis continued, “honestly, I think that I played better tennis. I was more aggressive. I went for my shots much more than he. But he did really incredibly well, as he always does, on important points. Just it’s really tough to beat the guy, you know.”
“I think that I’m closing in, ” Gulbis added. “I just need to continue in this way, and sooner or later I’m going to beat him.”
Nadal gained some inspiration from the crowd: “All the support of the crowd since I am coming back every place, you know, around every tournament that I played was amazing, and today was not an exception.
“I just can say thank you very much all the fans. You know, in the tough moments like I had, they are very important. And, you know, in my coming back having matches like today and having matches that I am with some troubles like I had in Chile and Brazil and lot of days and the support, the feeling that you have a lot of people with you around is very important.
That’s, you know, give to me a lot of energy.”
Nadal who holds an 18-10 record against Federer, says it will be a challenge.
“Well, tomorrow will be a nice match,” the Spaniard said. Always play against Roger is a pleasure. This match arrives early for me, too early to, you know, to go to the match with the feeling that I can play equal conditions than him.
“I think I am not that level today, but I gonna try, as I do always. I gonna try to enjoy the match. I’m going to try to play well and, you know, make the match positive for me with any result.
“I am here in Indian Wells in quarterfinals. Two weeks ago I didn’t know if I would be able to be here. Being in quarterfinals is a fantastic result for me, and we’ll see.
“It will be very difficult tomorrow for me.”