Rafael Nadal equals personal record with first round win at Mexican Open

Rafael Nadal began his Mexican Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Denis Kudla in the first round at Acapulco.

Rafael Nadal in a file photo. (Twitter: @AustralianOpen)

It’s been a little while since tennis fans last saw Rafael Nadal in action. However, the Australian Open 2022 champion picked up right where he left off on his return to the game.

Nadal began his Mexican Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Denis Kudla in the first round at Acapulco.

It was an overall dominant performance from the 21-time Grand Slam champion. He showed little signs of rust and was commanding throughout the match.

The win also saw him equal a personal record. He is now 11-0 in all matches played so far in the 2022 season, which matches his previous best he set in 2014.

“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 after the 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.”

Nadal’s dominance can be seen in the fact that he only dropped four points on serve. What’s more, he secured breaks early enough in both sets to ensure there would be no nervy moments.

Rafael Nadal set for clash against sparring partner

Nadal will next face lucky loser Stefan Kozlov, his Monday practice partner. The American advanced after a first-round win against Grigor Dimitrov.

Indeed, Kozlov stopped a practice set with Nadal upon receiving late word that he had a place in the main draw.

“It would be amazing, it would be a great honour for me,” Kozlov said of a potential second-round encounter with Nadal.

“I think he’s a fantastic person, and I have great respect for him. I’ll really enjoy it, definitely.”

Also read: Novak Djokovic wins first tennis match of the 2022 season at Dubai

Kozlov might enjoy the match, but it would be hard to see him enjoying the same luck he did against Dimitrov when he gets to the second round.

Nadal is not just an all-time great and a man in form; he’s someone who enjoys playing in Acapulco. In addition to matching his personal-best start to a season, the first round win saw Nadal extend his Acapulco win streak to six matches following his title run in 2020.

He is also now 21-2 lifetime at the event and won the title here in 2005 and 2013; the latter of those wins was the tournament’s last year on clay.

To make things worse for Kozlov, all 21 of Nadal’s wins have come in straight sets. It is hard to see anything beyond a Nadal win in the second round – and indeed, the tournament.




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Sportslumo Desk

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