ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal had comfortable wins on Wednesday at the Mexican Open and a rematch of their epic five-set final at the Australian Open appears to be on the horizon.
Medvedev took another step toward top spot in the ATP rankings with a dominant 6-1, 6-2 second-round victory over Pablo Andujar while Nadal cruised past Stefan Kozlov 6-0, 6-3.
If Medvedev beats Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarterfinals and Nadal does the same against Tommy Paul, the two players will meet again in the semifinals less than a month after the Spaniard rallied to win the final at Melbourne for his record 21st Grand Slam singles title.
Paul advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (6), 2-6, 7-5 with a win over Dusan Lajovic and Nishioka progressed after rallying to beat Taylor Fritz 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The 26-year-old Medvedev is trying to replace Novak Djokovic atop the rankings and could achieve that goal if he wins the title in Acapulco.
He needed just over an hour to beat Andujar the morning after defending champion Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the Mexican Open for violently smashing his racket on the umpire’s chair moments after losing a doubles match.
“If I do it it’s going to mean a lot, there would be a lot of statistics mentioned, since when this or since when that … it´s going to be fun, but first I have to achieve it, it´s my main goal to win as many matches as possible in the next few weeks”, Medvedev said.
Medvedev beat Djokovic in the U.S. Open final last September to win first major title and, at his next Grand Slam event, reached the final at the Australian Open on Jan. 30 before losing to Nadal.
The 35-year-old Spaniard, who has won three times in Acapulco — 2005, 2013 and 2020 — has a 12-0 record in 2022 and needed an 1 hour and 16 minutes to beat Kozlov, who entered the draw as a lucky loser.
“I´ve never have been aware of the numbers, to be honest, I prepare to play and to compete, if I can do that the number keep coming, but if you don´t play, it´s hard,” said Nadal, who has struggled with injuries in the past few years. “I´ve spent complicated months, but I have been feeling better, you feel the freedom, so beyond the victories it´s important to be playing.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas later defeated J.J. Wolf 6-1, 6-0 to set up a match against Marcos Giron, who beat Pablo Carreño Busta 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Also, Cameron Norrie beast John Isner 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 and will next play Peter Gojowczyk, who entered the draw as a lucky loser and qualified for the quarterfinals without playing after Zverev was thrown out of the tournament.
“I have a good relationship with Alexander and at the end of the day I´m not going to say something different to him, I think he deserves the penalty because you can not act that way on the court”, Nadal said. “I hope it´s a learning experience for him and for other young players who lose their nerves.”
The Mexican Open is played on the hard courts of the Arena GNP in Acapulco.
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