Rafael Nadal beats Dennis Kudla, moves into second round in Acapulco

(AFP) – Rafael Nadal made a triumphant return to the ATP Tour on Tuesday, winning his first tournament match since capturing the Australian Open title to reach the second round of the Mexican Open.

21-time Grand Slam champion defeated US lucky loser Dennis Kudla 6-3, 6-2 to book a date with another American who advanced in similar fashion, Rafa practice partner Stefan Kozlov, in the last 16.

Rafa won his men’s record 21st Grand Slam title at last month’s Australian Open, breaking the career mark he had shared with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Rafa broke 100th-ranked Kudla in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead and held from there to claim the first set of their first career meeting.

When Kudla sent a forehand long to surrender the first break of the second set, Rafa seized a 2-1 lead and held at love to 3-1.

Rafa broke again for a 4-1 edge and held twice more, claiming the victory on a forehand winner after one hour and 16 minutes. He fired eight aces and won 36 of 40 points on his serve in the dominating outing.

“It has been a positive match. I think I started playing well, a good victory in straight sets. That’s always very positive for the confidence,” he said post-match. “I think I played a very solid match for the first day. Of course there are a couple of things that I can do better, but in general terms, I played well so I can’t complain at all.”

With the win, he matches his best start to an ATP Tour season at 11-0. Rafa also won 11 straight matches to start the 2014 season, before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final.

Sources: AFP, ATP Tour


  1. Z. is 24 years old. He is world #3, and this incident is disgusting. Much has been written about his arrogance and temper. Claiming to “leave it all on the court” does not excuse the language or violent
    behaviour. He is also a father. Contrite apologies are futile if nothing changes between the ears. This
    is not the first time. Time for professional counselling.

  2. Mac I am no expert on tournament format but I know that we see byes in ATP 250 tournaments but not so much in 500 or 1000 tournaments. For example, Rafa got a first round bye in the 250 he won in Australia. Note also that Rafa was the highest ranked player in the field for that tournament.

    • When you see the ATP calendar, you will notice that most of ATP250 tournaments are with 28 players for singles (exceptions for ATP250 tournaments are Morocco with a field of 32 players, and Winston-Salem with a field of 48 players).

      When you have a field of 28 players in an ATP250 tournament, you will have 4 byes in the first round for the first 4 top seeds.

      In case of Morocco ATP250 with 32 players, there will be no bye for any players. For Winston-Salem ATP250 tournament with 48 players, you will have 16 byes in the first round for the 16 top seeds.

      Most of the ATP500 tournaments are with a field of 32 players this year. Exceptions for ATP500 tournaments are Rio with 28 players; Barcelona with 48 players and Citi Open with 48 players.

      For an ATP500 with 32 players, none of the players, including the top seeds, will have a bye. For ATP500 Rio with 28 players, 4 top seeds will have a bye in the first round. For Barcelona ATP500 and Citi Open ATP500 with 48 players each, 16 top seeds will have a bye in the first round.

      ATP1000 Indian Wells and Miami tournaments are with 96 players each. This means that 32 top seeds will have a bye in the first round.

      ATP1000 Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Montreal, Cincinnati and Shanghai tournaments are with 56 players each. This means that 8 top seeds will have a bye in the first round.

      ATP1000 Rolex Paris will have a field of 48 players. This means that 16 top seeds will have a bye in the first round.

  3. Stay healthy Rafa, the most important thing in your career right now and also playing aggressive tennis to shorten points. Well done. As far as this whole Zverev saga is concerned, no excuses. He should have known better including skipping the doubles match and deserves whatever is coming his way. But I’m also surprised Acupulco doesn’t have automatic line calling considering they have the camera technology which leaves no doubt whatsoever. I think this is required at all tournaments now.

  4. A great first match for Rafa – he breezed through it. Completely outrageous behaviour from Zverev – no doubt other sanctions may be applied.

  5. Congratulations Rafa. A lovely match for you and hope round 2 will be just as enjoyable…straight sets again Vamos

  6. Well done dear Rafa for winning your opening match in Acapulco so solidly and convincingly ! Vamos !

    Quite a few of your opponents experienced the traditional first round chaos and one of them even got kicked out of the tournament ….. Shame !

    I can’t wait for your next game : good luck and your fans are behind you 🥰

  7. I have a question, my dear Rafans.

    Are there no byes anymore in the tournaments? Just wondering, since I saw Rafa and Djokovic play first round matches. What gives?

    Alas I woke up at 3.30am my time and I was just in time to see Rafa shake hands at the net:):)

    Keep going champ!

    • These new gen knuckle heads deserve that. Absolutely shameful behaviour ! If they keep doing this disgraceful acts , they can never achieve anything in their career . Even Novak and Roger in Thier initial days were not these chumps !

      • Beyond belief, Navdeep. I am glad the ATP acted so swiftly. Hopefully they will also ban him from playing for an extended period. And I thought it couldn’t get worse than Kyrgios.

      • This is a reason the next gen has NOTHING on Rafa, Roger and Novak… They definitely don’t have the game….nor the temperament of playing a class sport… It’s shameful what took place…

      • Adidas and Rolex are making a big mistake if they allow this hooligan to continue representing them. He is tarnishing their image. Note to Roger which I hope he sees: kindly refrain from inviting Z to the Laver Cup. There are many talented gentlemanly Europeans who would be preferable.

        If the ATP doesn’t come down hard with a lengthy suspension tennis will lose credibility. Fines and slaps on the wrist aren’t sufficient punishment.

        Thank God we have Rafa to cheer for. ❤️

    • WOW! What the actual BLEEP! I can’t believe he did that!! He needs to be banned for a long period of time. He hit the umpire’s chair, sat down, then came back to hit it again!

      What a loser. No manners whatsoever!

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