Sun, Mar 05, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Nadal breezes into final in Acapulco

Reuters and AFP, ACAPULCO, Mexico

Rafael Nadal speaks with the referee during his semi-final against Marin Cilic at the Mexican Open in Acapulco on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Rafael Nadal continued to show no rust in his first tournament since losing the Australian Open final earlier this year.

The second-seeded Nadal reached the final of the Mexican Open on Friday night in Acapulco with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Marin Cilic of Croatia.

Nadal’s opponent will be American Sam Querry. The 29-year-old dropped the first set against Nick Kyrgios of Australia, but held on to win the next two for a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory.

Kyrgios had eliminated top-seeded Novak Djokovic a night earlier.

Cilic was no match for the 30-year-old Nadal, who will be seeking his third title in the hard-court event. He previously won the tournament in 2005 and 2013.

“I have to be playing well to win like this against a player like Marin, so I’m pleased with the performance,” Nadal said. “I’m happy with my focus in important moments, saving break points with good shots. I enjoyed the atmosphere here, so it’s great for me to be in the final.”

Nadal has not fared well in recent years on hard courts. His previous championship on the surface came in Doha in January 2014. However, he seems to be on top of his game this week, having not lost a set.

“Any time you play against someone like Cilic you expect to suffer in a tight match, but it was not like that,” Nadal said. “I believe that he had his chances, but I played a good game.”

In the women’s singles, Lesia Tsurenko booked a title showdown with France’s Kristina Mladenovic after illness forced top-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to retire while trailing against the Ukrainian.

Croatian veteran Lucic-Baroni had been in strong form all week, reaching the semi-finals without dropping a set.

However, she looked out of sorts from the start against Tsurenko, who raced to a 5-0 lead before the top seed retired complaining of gastrointestinal illness.

“I was really shocked on court when she decided to retire,” Tsurenko said. “I wish that she feels better. I’m pretty happy to be in the final, but it’s a shame that she’s not feeling well.”

Lucic-Baroni was dismayed with the end to her week.

“I was really unlucky,” she said. “I picked up a virus, I vomited just before I went on the court. I tried, because I’m not the type to retire, ever. I’ll just put on more tapes and play, and I can play through anything really.”

Mladenovic beat Christina McHale 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

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