A three-time Acapulco champion Rafael Nadal is through to his fifth semi-final in Mexico following a 6-0, 7-6 triumph over Tommy Paul in two hours and three minutes. Nadal had to work hard to topple Paul in set number two. The Spaniard lost serve three times but bounced back from 5-3 down to reach a tie break and seal the deal without playing a decider.
Rafa did not serve well as in the previous matches, hitting four double faults and dropping 40% of the points behind the initial shot. Tommy earned those three breaks in the second set. However, it was not enough to take it, losing 55% of the points in his games and giving serve away six times to end his run in the quarter-final.
Rafa grabbed the opening game at love with a powerful backhand and fired a winner from his right wing in game two to secure an early break. Nadal held at love in game three and seized the fourth break chance in the next one for 4-0 in 18 minutes.
Rafael Nadal faced Daniil Medvedev in the Acapulco semi-final.
The Spaniard closed the fifth game with a service winner and delivered his third straight break a few minutes later for a 6-0 advantage in under half an hour.
Paul made an excellent recovery in the second set and earned an early break in the opening game with a backhand winner at the net. Tommy confirmed the lead with an ace in game two before Rafa pulled the break back with a lucky net cord in game four to lock the result at 2-2.
Struggling to impose his strokes in those moments, Nadal sprayed a backhand error in the fifth game to fall behind. The Spaniard broke back in the next one following his rival’s wild forehand. Nadal wasted game points at 3-3 and suffered a break after a loose forehand.
Paul saved a break point in game eight and landed a forehand down the line winner to bring it home and move 5-3 in front. Rafa closed the ninth game with a forehand down the line winner to prolong the set and broke back in the next one to level the score at 5-5 and gain a boost.
A three-time champion saved a break chance with a forehand drive-volley winner in game 11 and the second after a well-constructed attack to avoid the late setback. Nadal finally held and earned a match point on the return in the next one with a volley winner.
Tommy saved it with a smash winner, denied the second with a service winner and fired another to close the game and introduce a tie break. From 2-0 down, Nadal landed a forehand down the line winner to reduce the deficit and opened a 3-2 gap with an unreturned serve.
Rafa forced the rival’s mistake to move 5-3 in front before Tommy climbed back to 5-5 and increased the drama. Nadal grabbed a mini-break in the 11th point and sealed the deal with a service winner for a place in the semi-final, where he faced Daniil Medvedev.
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