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Rafael Nadal improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Mischa Zverev to 3-0 after winning on Tuesday in Acapulco.

Nadal Makes A Statement In Acapulco R1 Win

A. Zverev, Isner, Schwartzman advance on Tuesday

Top seed Rafael Nadal has reached the championship match in all three previous appearances at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC. If he continues to produce the level of tennis he did on Tuesday against Mischa Zverev of Germany, the Spaniard has a strong chance of reaching a fourth final in Acapulco.

Competing in his first match since finishing runner-up last month at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic), the Spaniard showed no sign of match rust in defeating Zverev 6-3, 6-3. He improves to 15-1 at this event and finished the night with 25 winners to just 14 unforced errors.

"I'm happy for the victory. It's never easy against Mischa, especially without competing for awhile," said Nadal. "I'll try to enjoy this moment for the next few hours and then be ready for tomorrow."

Nadal wasted no time getting down to business on Cancha Central and struck a gorgeous backhand lob winner to grab a 3-1 lead in the first set. He held the advantage for the rest of the set and carved a forehand drop volley winner on set point to take the early lead.

Playing with the confidence of a man who comfortably won both of his previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Zverev, Nadal continued to apply pressure in his return games. The German eventually succumbed to the relentless offence and began leaking errors from the baseline. Nadal won the last four games of the match and struck a backhand passing shot winner on match point to end the contest after 80 minutes.

Awaiting Nadal in the second round is a blockbuster match against Nick Kyrgios, who defeated Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 7-5. Although the Aussie arrived in Acapulco with a 3-3 record this season, he consistently brings his best in prime-time matches against the world's top players. Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 3-2, but they're even at 1-1 on hard courts.

"This tournament is hard and there's a lot of great players, so these kinds of matches can happen in the early stages," said Nadal. "Nick is one of the most talented players on tour. It's a big challenge for me and I hope to be ready for it."

The Zverev family went 1-1 on Tuesday as second seed Alexander Zverev encountered few problems in dismissing #NextGenATP Aussie Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-3. The German was untouchable on serve throughout the contest and lost only one point on his first serve (26/27). He was equally dominant in return games, winning 65 per cent of second-serve return points and accumulating nine break points throughout the night.

The World No. 3 will now face Spaniard David Ferrer, who continued his love affair with Acapulco by battling past American Tennys Sandgren 7-6(5), 7-6(3). The four-time champion (2010-2012, 2015) fed off the vocal crowd support and fired a forehand winner on his first match point to wrap up play after two hours. Ferrer is competing in Acapulco for the last time and will end his 19-year ATP Tour career this May at the Mutua Madrid Open.

“I feel very happy. It was very emotional for me,” said Ferrer. “The crowd helped me a lot because I know these are going to be my last matches here, so I’m just trying to do my best on every point.”

Third seed John Isner broke his Acapulco curse by scoring his first win in five tries, holding off a determined Adrian Mannarino of France to prevail 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The American fired 18 aces and broke Mannarino twice in the final set to advance after one hour and 45 minutes.

Isner will play fellow American and good friend Sam Querrey in the next round after Querrey comfortably dispatched Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-2. Querrey leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Isner 5-2.

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Fourth seed Diego Schwartzman showed no sign of the right leg injury that forced him to retire in his first-round match last week at the Rio Open presented by Claro. The Argentine finished strongly after more than two hours of tennis to dispatch Marius Copil of Romania 6-3 4-6, 6-1. Next up for Schwartzman is Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, who survived a wild match featuring 12 service breaks in 24 games to defeat Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Other first-round match results on Tuesday saw fifth seed and #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur hold his nerve to fight through Nicolas Jarry of Chile 7-6(5), 7-6(2). Feliciano Lopez of Spain survived a marathon tussle to move past Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5, while Mackenzie McDonald required just 52 minutes to win an all-American battle against teenage wild card Emilio Nava 6-1, 6-3.

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