When Rafael Nadal lost the Acapulco final to Sam Querrey

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When Rafael Nadal lost the Acapulco final to Sam Querrey

Rafael Nadal will compete for the first time as the 21-time Major champion in Acapulco, hoping to extend his perfect record in 2022. Nadal has been 20-2 in Acapulco since 2005, winning three titles and suffering only two losses to Sam Querrey and Nick Kyrgios.

Nadal became the last clay-court Acapulco champion in 2013, beating David Ferrer in the final and not playing in Mexico in the next three editions. Building his form after a rough 2016 season, Nadal defeated Mischa Zverev, Paolo Lorenzi, Yoshihito Nishioka and Main Cilic to advance into the Acapulco final in 2017.

Seeking the first title since Barcelona in April 2016, Nadal suffered a 6-3, 7-6 loss to Sam Querrey, finishing on the losing side for the first time in Acapulco and handing the trophy to the American. Rafa faced only two break points and still finished runner-up after squandering six break chances in the second set.

Sam's serve made a considerable difference, hitting many winners from his initial shot alone and making Rafa uncomfortable and tense. The American showed a real clutch in the second set's eighth game, saving no less than five break points and keeping the initial shot intact.

Querrey failed to find the first serve in the tie break, but Nadal could not take advantage of that, playing under constant pressure from Sam's colossal forehand. It was Nadal's first loss to a player from the USA since Mardy Fish toppled him in Cincinnati 2011, winning the following 16 encounters ahead of this clash.

Both players found a nice rhythm on serve from the opening game, delivering seven comfortable holds to stay neck and neck.

Rafael Nadal lost the Acapulco 2017 final to Sam Querrey.

Sam found a way to steal Rafa's serve in game eight, hitting two winners, including a return one, and embracing two significant errors from the Spaniard to jump 5-3 in front.

Querrey closed the opening set with another comfortable hold in game nine, smashing a forehand winner to take it 6-3. After a fast and fluid opener, the second set brought more drama, with four games that went to deuce and a break chance for each player in games two and three.

They repelled them to stay close to each other until game eight, when Nadal had the last opportunity to move in front, with five break chances up for grabs! Sam saved the first with an ace, and Nadal netted a straightforward backhand on the second that could have given him a significant break.

The American was far from the safe zone, but he was not to be denied. He erased two more break chances with good serves and one with a beautiful backhand attack, finally holding after another service winner that gave him a tremendous amount of boost before the set's closing stages.

Nadal could have moved ahead early in the tie break as well, unable to control Querrey's two second serves, which would prove to be very costly. In his next two serves, Sam ripped two forehand winners and made the first mini-break in the eighth point with a deep return that sent him 5-3 up.

The American endured a rally to score another mini-break and forge a 6-3 advantage before bringing the victory home in the next point when Nadal's forehand landed long.