Nadal defeats Medvedev in 2 sets in Acapulco

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ACAPULCO, Mexico — 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 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 when he defeated Dominic Thiem, who was fourth in the ATP rankings, in the 2021 Lyon semifinal.

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

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The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.