(Reuters) – Rafael Nadal has defeated new men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3 in a rematch of their Australian Open final to storm into the decider of the ATP 500 event in Acapulco.
Rafa had to fight back from two sets down in their previous meeting in Melbourne last month to clinch a men’s record 21st major singles title.
But in Mexico, it was the Spaniard who got off to a fast start.
Medvedev was forced to defend a couple of breakpoints in his very first service game, before Rafa broke minutes later to take a 3-1 lead, which he held onto to claim the first set 6-3.
Rafa appeared to carry his momentum into the second set, breaking serve early to go 1-0 up.
But Medvedev grew into the contest as the set progressed and began causing the Spaniard all kinds of problems with his backhand drop shot.
Medvedev earned a total of 11 breakpoints across just two of Rafa’s service games in the second set, but the Australian Open champion dug deep to hold serve on both occasions.
“I played some amazing points on the break points,” said Rafa, who noted that the high bounce on the stadium court helped his game. “The second set was very emotional. Daniil was playing very aggressive — drop shots, winners. It was a very difficult set. I feel lucky to win that set because he had a lot of chances.”
“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. 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.”
Rafa’s service under pressure took the wind out of Medvedev’s sails and the Russian was broken once again as an unforced backhand error handed his opponent the win and set up a clash against British number one Cameron Norrie in the final.
Congratulations to Iga and Andrey. 🏆👏 Hope Rafa will join them tonight.💪🍀❤️
Rafa, thank you for another unforgettable performance, a job well done saving all those break points against Daniil, the new best player in tennis!!!
Also congratulations to Jiri Vesely for a fantastic week, glad to see him doing well after what had happened to him.
Rafaaaa, PLEASE skip IW and play MIAMI. Ur in the best hardcourt form on the tour and youll most certainly win it.
Trust youll make the right call…….just hoping you win it all…..
I can’t believe my eyes! Rafa is playing so well, and also so smartly. He is not wasting his energy running after every shot. Medevdev was not his usual self, but that takes nothing away from Rafa’s performance. Brilliant it was!
Rafa fantastic much you play amazing all the best from you fans for ever vamosssssss you are on fire 🔥 🔥🔥🔥💪💪💪💪👏👏👏❤️🇺🇸💯💯💯
Rafa. You are just amazing. What a pleasure to see you take down Daniil in straight sets. New no. I was shell shocked. The Next Gen all out.. Cam Norrie is a nice player but you’ll have no problems. 14 straight wins since beginning 2022. Keep it going my Champion…just love you for the superstar you are. Buena Suerte v Cam. 🇪🇦🇪🇦☘☘
Rafael Nadal-a fantastic win😂it was breathtaking! Such a satisfying victory over No.1-enjoy the
moment, Rafa. It was historic💪👍👏🤛❤️🔥❤️🙏
Brilliant. Just brilliant!!
ENHORABUENA!!! por tu victoria y llegar a la final, que las lesiones te respeten y siguas en tu 100%, estas en un nivel estupendo ,ADELANTE RAFA!!!!!
Rafa played very well and did not back down from the fight at any stage. Saving all 11 break points he faced in the 2nd set tells the story.
Rafa is playing like it’s 2013 again. Keep it up champ!
Fantastic match Rafa👍👍 just amazing, all the best for the final❤️