Will Nadal Face Another Aussie Blockbuster In Acapulco?
One year ago, Rafael Nadal lost an epic second-round battle against Nick Kyrgios in a final-set tie-break at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC. This year, the two-time Acapulco champion could face another Aussie in the second round: #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, whom the Spanish lefty beat in a three-set thriller in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup.
“I wasn't surprised. He's young. He has a lot of energy. He plays with a lot of passion. Sometimes even too much,” Nadal said, cracking a smile. “I think when the match was going on, I was able to play better and better, to find a little bit better the rhythm and the energy back to my body.”
De Minaur played some of the best tennis of his career in that showdown. But first, both men will have to get through tough opening rounds. Nadal will face countryman Pablo Andujar, against whom he holds a 3-0 ATP Head2Head series lead.
Watch Highlights Of Nadal & De Minaur's ATP Cup Battle:
In their most recent meeting at the 2014 Rio Open presented by Claro, which was held on clay, Nadal needed a final-set tie-break to beat Andujar. This event is held on hard court, and at last year’s US Open Andujar earned the best Grand Slam result of his career by reaching the fourth round.
De Minaur will play fellow #NextGenATP star Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia. This will be the Aussie’s first match since his loss against Nadal at the ATP Cup due to an abdominal injury. De Minaur beat Kecmanovic in four sets at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals.
Watch Highlights Of The 2019 Acapulco Final:
Kyrgios, who after upsetting Nadal went on to win the title last year by beating former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, John Isner and 2018 Nitto ATP Finals titlist Alexander Zverev, is on the opposite half of the draw. The sixth seed will open against in-form Frenchman Ugo Humbert. If he wins, he will face countryman John Millman or American Taylor Fritz.
Kyrgios could potentially meet red-hot #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals. The fourth-seeded Canadian, who has already made two ATP Tour finals this year, will make his Acapulco debut against a qualifier.
Zverev, who has reached at least the semi-finals in Acapulco in his two previous appearances, is the second seed. The German will begin the pursuit of his first title in 2020 against Aussie Jordan Thompson. Fifth-seeded Isner, whom Zverev lost to in the 2018 Miami final, is the other seeded player in his quarter, and they are both on the same half of the draw as Kyrgios.
A first-round match to watch for pits three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, the third seed, against his American friend, Frances Tiafoe. Wawrinka beat Tiafoe in a three-set thriller in Basel last October.
Did You Know?
Nadal owns a 15-2 record in Acapulco, reaching the final or lifting the trophy in three of his four appearances. The Spaniard is trying to win a tour-level title for the 17th consecutive year.