Acapulco, February 23rd, 2022. – Rafael Nadal is already in the quarterfinals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, a round in which he has not lost in the Mexican tournament. After a solid opening in the first round, the Spaniard returned with his best version to win the second round against the American Stefan Kozlov.
Acapulco’s three-time champion faced a physically diminished version of Stefan Kozlov, who did not seem to be giving his 100%, despite having a day to rest. The American had starred in the longest match in the history of the tournament, 3 hours and 21 minutes, he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the first round.
Nadal was precise with his serve and aggressive with his returns. He got 6-0 in just over half an hour and got the lead in the second set. Kozlov broke Rafa when the Spaniard was 4-2, and immediately lost the serve again afterwards. After confirming the break, the Manacor closed the match with a 6-3 in the second set.
The former number one in the world got to the quarterfinals of the tournament, this has been the best start of the season in his career, after a 12-0 record. “I have this feeling that, beyond victories, the most important thing is to play. It is true that things have started better than ever, so far,” shared Rafa after his match.
“At the end I’m playing and I’m competing. I’m competing well, and that’s the most important thing for me. After many complicated months, one gradually starts feeling better, somehow liberated,” Nadal added in a press conference.
In the quarterfinal match, Rafa will face Tommy Paul, who defeated Dusan Lajovic. It will be the first confrontation between the Spaniard and the American, a similarity that they share with Stefan Kozlov and Denis Kudla, two tennis players who had not faced Nadal before this Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.