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.