Acapulco | Nadal and Norrie make final

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Daniil Medvedev may not yet have been crowned as world number one – that ‘ceremony’ will take place on Monday, but failed to live up to expectations and defeat the former top ranked player, Rafa Nadal, and avenge his loss to the Spaniard at last month’s Australian Open final.

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 Rafa Nadal

That proved an epic encounter but this time there was no drama as the 35-year-old, holder of a record record 21 grand slams, easily eased past the Russian 6-3 6-3 to reach the Acapulco final where he will meet Britain’s top player, Cameron Norrie, world ranked 12, who in turn swept the world No.4, Stefanos Tsitsipas aside 6-4 6-4.

Nadal is now 14-0 for the season and as the fourth seed, is favourite to extend that run by capturing the title for a fifth time.

The Spaniard no doubt, expected a tough encounter following his Melbourne experience when he recovered from two sets down to lift the AO trophy for a second time in his career and was determined this time not to let the new No.1 establish another seemingly undefendable lead so started strongly earning a break in the fourth game and finishing off the first set in just 47-minutes.

Medvedev raised his game in the second but missed converting 11 break points, seven of them in the fifth game which lasted 19-minutes!

Following his victory, Nadal reflected: “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.”

He continued: “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.

“I played some amazing points on the break points,” added Nadal, who pointed out 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.”

For Medvedev it was a lost opportunity as 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.”

Whether he was recovering from celebrating his coronation on Monday as World No.1, or distracted by his country’s invasion of the Ukraine which he is strongly against, Medvedev admitted following his loss: “There´s 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.”

Cameron Norrie pulls off a great win against Stefanos Tsitsipas

Regina Cortina/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Earlier, Norrie, the 12th ranked player in the world, extended his own hot streak in February by upsetting the Greek star and third seed Tsitsipas in straight sets.

After losing all four of his matches in January, Norrie is now 10-1 this month, arriving at the Mexican resort after winning the third Tour title of his career at Delray Beach.

Norrie, the sixth-seeded player in Acapulco, recorded one of the biggest wins of his career by beating the fourth ranked player in the world, having also beaten Dominic Thiem when the Austrian was ranked fourth in the world in 2021.

“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”, the British No.1 said.

Norrie had service breaks in the ninth game of the first and second set and is looking forward to the final before learning who is opponent would be.

“It’s going to be a great match regardless of whom I’m going to play against, it’s going to be hard,” Norrie said.

Commenting on their forthcoming clash, Nadal said of Norrie: “His level of tennis is huge. He improved a lot at the beginning of last year, and this year he continues.

“It’s going to be a big challenge, but we are in the final of a 500 here in Acapulco, so can’t expect an easy opponent. I’m excited about being in the final.”

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