Nadal trounces Cilic to reach Acapulco final; Querrey edges Kyrgios
Acapulco (Mexico), March 4 (IANS) Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal continued his strong start to 2017 by routing Marin Cilic 6-1, 6-2 to the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel here.
Next up for the sixth-ranked Spaniard in the championship match will be big-serving American Sam Querrey, who rallied to defeat Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Friday, reports Efe.
In the first set of Friday night’s first semi-final, Nadal won all but one of Cilic’s seven second-serve points en route to breaking the Croat’s serve on two occasions.
The eighth-ranked Cilic then lost all rhythm on his biggest weapon in the second set, putting just 37 percent of his first serves in play and leaving him defenceless against the Spaniard’s potent return game.
Nadal, for his part, fended off all seven break points he faced during the one-hour, 25-minute match.
“I have to be playing well to win like this against a player like Marin, so I’m pleased with the performance,” Nadal said afterward. “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.”
The 30-year-old Nadal, who reached his first Grand Slam final in nearly three years at January’s Australian Open, appears to have rediscovered the form and confidence that made him a 14-time major champion.
In Friday night’s second semi-final, the talented but unpredictable Kyrgios cruised through the opening set without facing a single break point before his game suddenly went south in the second set.
The decider then came down to just a handful of points, with Querrey saving the lone break chance he faced and then breaking Kyrgios serve in the 12th and final game to claim victory.
In the women’s singles competition, French No. 2 seed Kristina Mladenovic will seek her second title of the season when she takes on seventh-seeded Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in the final.
Mladenovic defeated American Christina McHale 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 on Friday, while Tsurenko was leading Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 5-0 when the latter was forced to retire from the match due to illness.