Nadal Faces Potential Kyrgios Blockbuster In Acapulco Second Round
Rafael Nadal has made the final at Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in each of his three previous appearances. But the Spaniard could face a string of early tests if he hopes to keep alive that streak in Acapulco.
There will not be a repeat champion at the ATP 500 event, as 2018 winner Juan Martin del Potro withdrew ahead of the draw to rest his knee. Last year, the Argentine beat three Top 10 opponents in his final three matches of the event to clinch his first victory in Mexico.
Nadal, competing for the first time since reaching the Australian Open final (l. to Djokovic), opens his tournament against 31-year-old German Mischa Zverev. The top seed has beaten his fellow left-hander in straight sets in two previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, including the first round in Acapulco two years ago.
But looming in the second round could be talented Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who has defeated Nadal twice in their five previous clashes. To set that tantalising encounter, Kyrgios would have to battle past Delray Beach quarter-finalist Andreas Seppi.
Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and seventh seed Steve Johnson are also in Nadal’s quarter of the draw. The Spaniard has won 28 of his 30 sets in Acapulco to earn a 14-1 record at the event, with his most recent match at the ATP 500 event being a straight-sets loss against Sam Querrey in the 2017 final.
Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, like Nadal, will try to lift his first trophy of the season in Acapulco. The German begins his tournament against a qualifier before facing former World No. 3 David Ferrer or Auckland champion Tennys Sandgren.
Ferrer, a four-time champion in Acapulco, is retiring after the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, so this will be his last appearance at this event. If Zverev should clash with Ferrer, the Spaniard has won two of their five battles.
All eyes will be on a potential quarter-final clash between Zverev and #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, who is the fifth seed. Zverev has triumphed in all three of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, winning six consecutive sets in their rivalry. De Minaur faces Chilean Nicolas Jarry in the first round.
New York and Delray Beach semi-finalist John Isner will look to stay consistent in Acapulco, beginning his push against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, whom he defeated in the Delray Beach quarter-finals. Should Isner win, he will face a compatriot in the second round: 2017 champion Querrey or 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Taylor Fritz.
Did You Know?
Nadal's two victories in Acapulco came when the tournament was held on clay courts. The ATP 500 event switched to hard courts in 2014.