When Rafael Nadal saved all 11 break points vs. Daniil Medvedev
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 1294
Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev met for the sixth time in the Acapulco semi-final in February. Rafa beat Daniil for the fifth time following a 6-3, 6-3 triumph in grueling two hours. Thus, he advanced to his fifth Acapulco final and the 128th in a career.
The duel came a couple of weeks after their epic Australian Open final clash, with Nadal prevailing in a five-setter after five hours and 24 minutes. The Russian was eager to avenge that loss in Acapulco. Still, it was not to be for him, spraying his chances on the return and getting broken three times to propel the Spaniard into the final.
Rafa served well in the opening set and claimed it with a single break on his tally. Daniil experienced an early break in set number two and had a massive chance to pull it back in games four and six. Nonetheless, Nadal stayed focused and defended all 11 break points to keep the initial shot intact and bring the victory home.
Rafael Nadal saved all 11 break points versus Daniil Medvedev in Acapulco.
Thus, the 35-year-old set a personal record, never fending off that many break chances without losing serve! Rafa was nine from nine while saving break points five times in the past, and he bested that record against the Russian to remain perfect in 2022.
Medvedev erased two break points in the encounter's second game and bypassed an early setback. Nadal closed the third game with a service winner and delivered a break in the next one when Medvedev netted a backhand at the net.
Rafa claimed four straight points in the fifth game and closed it with an unreturned serve for 4-1. The Russian held in the sixth game after deuces, and the Spaniard brought the next one home at love to stay ahead. Rafa served for the set at 5-3 and clinched it with a service winner after 47 minutes.
Medvedev hit a double fault to face break chances at the beginning of the second set and sprayed a forehand mistake to fall further behind. A three-time champion held at love in the second game and moved closer to the finish line.
Daniil found the rhythm on the return in the fourth game and created his first break chances. Nadal stayed calm and defended four before closing the game with a service winner. The Spaniard had an even more enormous task to solve two games later, experiencing nine deuces and no less than seven break points!
Daniil squandered them after failing to hit the decisive strike, and Rafa brought the game home after 20 minutes of a grueling battle. The Spaniard held in game eight with a service winner and sealed the deal from 40-15 down in the next one to emerge in the fifth Acapulco final.
Facing those 11 break opportunities, Nadal hit five winners and forced five mistakes from his opponent. Medvedev sprayed only one unforced error and still lost all 11 points to stay empty-handed.