Sports

Mexican Open: Nadal sees off Medvedev in semis, books final spot

Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

Rafael Nadal has qualified for the final against United Kingdom’s Cameron Norrie after defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-3 in the semifinal of the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

Medvedev had earlier lost to the Spaniard in the Australian Open in a difficult 5-set contest, but could not defeat Nadal in what was more of a rematch between the duo.

Medvedev, a prospective world number one that will be named on Monday after Novak Djokovic was defeated in the Dubai Tennis Championship by Czech’s Jiri Vesely, played well in the second set but failed to convert the eleven breakpoints in which 7 of them were in the 5th game that lasted for nineteen minutes.

In continuation of his third-highest winning streak in his career, Nadal, 35, in the previous month came from two sets down in the Australian Open to defeat the world number 2 Daniil Medvedev to win his world record twenty-one Grand Slams singles titles.

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Nadal after the win revealed that every game has its own peculiarity noting that he had to ensure he was mentally stable to remain focused in the game.

He said, “Every match is different, I said that yesterday, there are different conditions, and everything changes,”

“It was a different game, with a very exciting second (set) where I made very few mistakes.

“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 is a tough final tomorrow,” he added.

The grateful Nadal acknowledged that it was a privilege to play in the tournament while he also affirmed that his career has been unimaginably successful.

“It’s been a long career with more success than I could have imagined. To be playing here is a gift that I treasure and appreciate, I’m thankful for these opportunities,” Nadal said.

Medvedev reviewing his game against Nadal confirmed he was not good enough in the game.

Furthermore, the player, frankly unsatisfied with the energy expended in the game, said there will be a change in his pattern of play going forward.

He said, “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.

“There is 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,” Medvedev added.

In another development, Cameron Norrie who had a poor run in January has extended his rejuvenated streak in February after he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4.

Norrie in February, with a form record of 10-1, won his 3rd ATP Tour title of his career at Delray Beach before proceeding to Acapulco where he has qualified to play Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the final.

Norrie after the match affirmed that the game against Tsitsipas, fourth-ranked in the ATP men’s singles chart, was one of the biggest wins in his career.

He said, “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.”

Norrie’s first biggest win was in 2021 in Lyon when he defeated Dominic Thiem who was ranked fourth in the ATP men’s singles rankings.

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