Another day, another history-making performance from Rafael Nadal. This time, the history was of the personal variety following a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Stefan Kozlov at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC.
In his first tournament since winning a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, Nadal has improved to a career-best 12-0 start to the new season. Nadal started the 2014 season with 11 straight wins before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final.
After title runs at the Melbourne Summer Set and the Aussie Open, the Spaniard is seeking his third tour-level trophy of the season and the 91st of his legendary career. His path to the title could run through Daniil Medvedev, the man chasing the No. 1 ATP Ranking, should both win one more match and advance to the semi-finals.
After leading, 6-0, 4-1, in Wednesday’s match against Kozlov, Nadal found himself back on serve with his opponent two points from leveling the set.
“A little bit of a strange match,” Nadal assessed. “Kozlov has a different style than most other players, so you need to be very careful. Sometimes you are able to win points in a row, but then if you start to play at his rhythm, it’s very difficult because he has great control from the baseline and he’s very smart. “
Avoiding the sort of marathon match the Acapulco stadium court has become accustomed to in recent days, Nadal won the final seven points of the match to get through to the quarter-finals in just over an hour. The Spaniard was dominant on the return as he converted five of six break chances, winning more than half of his points against Kozlov’s first serve.
“It’s always important to win as quick as possible,” Nadal added, “but the most important thing is to win. Tonight has been straight sets, that’s great news, and I’ll try to be ready for tomorrow again against a tough opponent . “
After beating Denis Kudla and Kozlov in the opening rounds, Nadal will face another American in Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals. Paul was a 7-6 (6), 2-6, 7-5 winner over Dusan Lajovic earlier on Wednesday.
This one goes to 12 💪
– Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 24, 2022
After a pair of dominant wins from Nadal and Medvedev opened play on the Acapulco stadium court, Stefanos Tsitsipas upped the ante with the fastest victory of his career. His 6-1, 6-0 sprint past American JJ Wolf clocked in at just 47 minutes, the Greek surrendering 16 total points in the contest.
“I would say I was patiently attacking. I was not going for too much, but I also was not going for too little,” the philosophical Greek reflected. “It felt great out there. It felt like I could control the points from both sides of the court and I felt very much in control throughout the entire match.
“I felt like my serve was working when I needed it. I just felt very comfortable with every single stroke and every single decision I had to make.”
Giron and Paul were the only two American winners out of six in action on Wednesday. Seventh seed Taylor Fritz dropped a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 decision to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishiokawhile John Isner fell to sixth seed and newly crowned Delray Beach champion Cameron Norrie6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4.
Nishioka will face Medvedev in the last eight, while Norrie takes on Peter Gojowczyk. All four Acapulco quarter-finals are set for Thursday.