World no. 2 and two-time Acapulco champion Rafael Nadal will play in the semi-final against Grigor Dimitrov following a 6-2 6-1 triumph over Soonwoo Kwon. The young Korean had some great wins in February and he gave his best in this one as well, creating eight break chances but squandering them all to propel Rafa towards the 18th victory in 20 matches here, with the Spaniard converting four out of six break chances to seal the deal in an hour and 31 minutes.
In the opening set, Nadal produced three commanding holds and grabbed two breaks for an instant lead, fending off three break chances in the only loose service game to move closer to the finish line, hitting 11 winners and four unforced errors to leave Kwon behind.
The Spaniard held at love with a service winner in the opening game of the clash, repeating that in the third game following a forehand error from the Korean and earning the first break of serve with a forehand winner in game four to forge a 3-1 advantage.
Dominating with the initial shot, Rafa delivered another hold at 15 after an ace to confirm the lead before facing three break chances at 4-2, pretty much out of nowhere. He saved the first with a forehand down the line winner, the second one after forcing an error from Soonwoo and the last one with another well-constructed attack before bringing the game home with a service winner for a 5-2.
Returning in game eight, Nadal grabbed a break at 15 after a backhand error from Kwon, wrapping up the opener in 36 minutes and hoping for more of the same in set number two. Serving at the beginning of the second set, Rafa repelled two break chances with winners, painting another forehand down the line winner to seal the game and avoid an early setback.
The first game brought three deuces and the second was even longer, with three break points up for grabs for the Spaniard. He converted the last one thanks to a double fault from the youngster, with another extended game coming on his serve.
Despite a 40-14 lead, Rafa had to play against three break chances, taking them down with three powerful winners and securing the game when Kwon sent a forehand wide to confirm the break and move 3-0 up. The Korean held at 15 in game four to reduce the deficit and Nadal responded with a hold at love after an ace to stay 4-1 in front.
The Spaniard claimed four straight points on the return in the sixth game to create a break chance, seizing it following a forehand mistake from Soonwoo and moving over the top with a service winner in the next game to reach the last four.
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