Rafael Nadal faces Reilly Opelka in Acapulco R1



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Rafael Nadal faces Reilly Opelka in Acapulco R1

The 21-time Major champion Rafael Nadal will kick off his sixth Acapulco campaign against the giant server Reilly Opelka. The three-time Acapulco winner will chase the fourth crown in Mexico following a perfect start of the season and ten wins from ten encounters.

Nadal had enough time to recover from that incredible Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev, entering Acapulco and facing a tough draw en route to his 91st ATP title. Opelka claimed the title in Dallas last week following hard-fought wins over John Isner and Jenson Brooksby, and he is in another final in Delray Beach.

If he downs Opelka, Nadal will face Grigor Dimitrov or Maxime Cressy in the second round, beating the American in the ATP 250 Melbourne title clash at the beginning of the season. Matteo Berrettini, Tommy Paul or Sebastian Korda will battle Rafa in the quarter-final.

Rafael Nadal will seek the fourth Acapulco title next week.

The Spaniard should meet world no. 2 Daniil Medvedev in a blockbuster semi-final if they score three victories. Nadal and Medvedev played an incredible Australian Open final, and the Spaniard prevailed 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in five hours and 24 minutes for a record-breaking 21st Major crown.

Rafa trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0, facing a defeat before producing the most outstanding comeback in the Australian Open finals in the Open era to celebrate one of his career-best victories. After a suitable rest, Nadal focuses on Acapulco, winning 20 out of 22 matches in Mexico and lifting three trophies between 2005-2020.

Nadal conquered Acapulco in 2005 and 2013 on clay before losing to Sam Querrey and Nick Kyrgios on hard court in 2017 and 2019. Rafa's third Acapulco trophy came in 2020 when he toppled Taylor Fritz in the final. Nadal defeated Fritz 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 14 minutes for his 85th ATP title and the first since the 2019 US Open.

Nadal lost only nine points behind the initial shot, erased the only break point he faced and dominated the rival's second serve to grab three breaks and sail over the finish line. The Spaniard had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes and toppled the American in the more advanced exchanges to emerge over the top and claim the title in his last event before the coronavirus pandemic.