The 21-time Major champion Rafael Nadal remains on the course towards the fourth Acapulco crown following a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Stefan Kozlov in the second round. Kozlov trained with Nadal when he found out that he made the main draw as a lucky loser, beating Grigor Dimitrov in three hours and 20 minutes in the opening round.
Setting the clash against the Spanish legend, Stefan did not have much left in the tank, experiencing a bagel in the opening round before fighting more valiantly in set number two, only to lose it in the closing stages. Nadal is now 22-2 in Acapulco, with his only losses coming against Sam Querrey and Nick Kyrgios in 2017 and 2019.
Rafa lost ten points in eight service games, suffering one break from the only chance offered to the opponent and turning over half of the return points into five breaks from six opportunities.
Rafael Nadal is through to the quarter-final in Acapulco.
The Spaniard had 29 winners and 18 unforced errors, and over ten of those direct points came from his smash, which worked like a charm.
Continuing where he left in the opening match, Rafa landed a backhand winner in the encounter's opening game to get his name on the scoreboard. Nadal grabbed a break in game two after an extended rally and Kozlov's mistake and opened a 3-0 gap with an ace.
Spreading a tiring rival over a baseline, Rafa produced a smash winner at the net in the fourth game for another break and a massive advantage. The Spaniard closed the fifth game with another smash winner and repeated that at 5-0 to earn a bagel after 32 minutes.
Rafa forced Stefan's mistake at the beginning of the second set with a hold at love before the American held at 15 to get his name on the scoreboard and lock the result at 1-1. The three-time champion held with a smash winner in game three and broke in the next one with, you guess, another smash winner that pushed him 3-1 ahead.
In game five, Nadal fired a forehand down the line winner to extend the lead and move closer to the finish line in under an hour. Kozlov painted a forehand crosscourt winner in the sixth game to reduce the deficit and pulled the break back in the next one after Nadal's loose backhand at the net.
Staying calm, Rafa grabbed another break in game eight against the rival who barely had enough strength to serve. Serving at 5-3, the Spaniard fired a booming serve to seal the deal and advance into the last eight.