ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — This time around, there was no drama.
In a rematch of an epic five-set Australian Open final, Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3 early on Saturday and qualified for the Mexican Open final, where he will play Cameron Norrie.
A month ago in Australia, the 35-year-old Nadal came from two sets down to beat Medvedev and win his record 21st Grand Slam singles title.
“Every match is different, I said that yesterday, there are different conditions and everything changes,” Nadal said. “It was a different game, with a very exciting second (set) where I made very few mistakes.”
Nadal is now 14-0 in the season and will try to capture his fourth title in Acapulco, where he´s a fan favorite after winning the 2005, 2013 and 2020 titles.
“This week means a lot after what happened in Australia, I was able to remain focused, that means that I’m OK mentally and that´s important because there´s a tough final tomorrow,” Nadal said.
“It´s been a long career with more success that I could have imagined. To be playing here is a gift that I treasure and appreciate, I´m thankful for these opportunities.”
The Spaniard started off strong in the match with a break in the fourth game of the first set that lasted 47 minutes.
Medvedev, who will be the world´s No. 1-ranked player on Monday, played better in the second set but missed converting 11 break points, seven of them in a fifth game that lasted 19 minutes.
“I don´t think that I played great today, my whole level on the match was not good enough to play against a player like Rafa,” said Medvedev.
“There´s not such a thing that I can take from this, to be honest I need to change everything I did today. I feel like I was missing some energy today.”
Earlier, Norrie extended his hot streak in February by upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4.
After losing all four of his matches in January, Norrie is 10-1 in February and arrived in Mexico after winning the third ATP Tour title of his career at Delray Beach.
Norrie, the sixth-seeded player in Acapulco, matched the biggest win of his career by beating No. 4-ranked Tsitsipas.
“I served very well today, I really enjoyed the match, it´s one of my best wins, I hope we can keep the run alive tomorrow”, said Norrie.
Norrie had service breaks in the ninth game of the first and second set to defeat Tsitsipas.
Norrie´s previous biggest career win was he defeated Dominic Thiem, who was fourth in the ATP rankings, in the 2021 Lyon semifinal.