Rafael Nadal cruised into the title match at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel with a 6-1, 6-2 blowout of Marin Cilic on Friday night. Nadal fought off all seven of the break points he faced and fired three aces without double-faulting while serving at 70 percent. The 14-time Grand Slam champion needed only one hour and 24 minutes to set up a battle with Sam Querrey for the winner’s trophy.
“I have to be playing well to win like this against a player like Marin, so I’m pleased with the performance,” Nadal noted. “I’m happy with my focus in important moments, saving break points with good shots. I enjoyed the atmosphere here. It’s great for me to be in the final.”
The sixth-ranked Spaniard is no stranger to success in Acapulco. Following his defeat of Cilic, Nadal is now 14-0 lifetime at the event and through to a third final in as many appearances. His two previous titles came when the tournament was played on clay.
Fast conditions on hard courts have played right into Querrey’s hands this week. The world No. 40’s run continued on Friday with a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Nick Kyrgios. Querrey cracked 13 aces and capitalized on all four of his break-point opportunities to prevail in one hour and 34 minutes.
“It’s unbelievable,” the he said. “This place is sold out every single night and the energy around the grounds is amazing. The ball bounces right into my strike zone on these courts, so I’m very comfortable playing here.”
Querrey also ousted David Goffin and Dominic Thiem early in the week, but he may not be as comfortable against Nadal. The 6’6” American trails the head-to-head series 4-0, although just one of their first four meetings ended in straight sets.
“When I play my best, I’m capable of beating a lot of these top guys and I’ve been able to put it all together these past three matches,” Querrey commented. “It just gets tougher from here because Rafa has been playing great all year, so I’m going to talk with my coach and leave it all out on the court.”