Rafael Nadal was a player to beat in Acapulco 2013, dropping 25 games in ten sets and lifting the trophy in style. Nadal became the last Acapulco champion on clay, with the event leaving the Golden Swing and turning to hard court in 2014.
Nadal stayed away from the court for seven months following an early loss at Wimbledon 2012 to Lukas Rosol. Struggling with a left knee injury, Nadal missed the start of 2013 and returned to action in Vina del Mar in February on his beloved clay.
Rafa scored three commanding victories to find himself in the title clash. However, he failed to lift the trophy following a massive 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 loss to Horacio Zeballos in two hours and 47 minutes! The Spaniard entered an indoor clay event in Sao Paulo a week later.
He headed all the way to celebrate his first ATP title in eight months and only the second under a roof after Madrid 2005! After a week off, Nadal was back in action in Acapulco, playing in Mexico for the first time in eight years after winning the title in 2005 at 18.
Rafa had stood above the rest of the field as a teenager, and it was the same scenario in 2013. The king of clay dropped 25 games in ten sets and lifted his 52nd ATP title and the second within three weeks. The reigning Roland Garros champion did everything right on serve and return.
He suffered only one break and had the upper hand on the rivals' serve to race toward the finish line and dethrone a three-time champion, David Ferrer. The young Argentine Diego Schwartzman fell 6-2, 6-2 in 68 minutes in the opening round.
He stole Nadal's serve once and got broken five times to propel world no. 5 through. Rafa dismissed another Argentine, Martin Alund, 6-0, 6-4 in round two. The Spaniard fended off all three break chances and earned four return games to dominate from start to finish and advance into the quarter-final.
He faced the third Argentine ranked outside the top-70, Leonardo Mayer.
Rafael Nadal claimed his second Acapulco title in 2013.
The clash lasted an hour and 41 minutes, and Mayer challenged Rafa in set number two before losing ground in the closing stages to push the Spaniard into the last four.
It was all about the Spanish Armada, with Ferrer moving closer to his fourth straight Acapulco crown. Nadal joined him in the title clash with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-4 victory over Nicolas Almagro in an hour and 49 minutes. Rafa grabbed only five points more than his rival in the week's most challenging obstacle.
A better-ranked player repelled all four break chances and delivered one break in each set to advance into the final. Interestingly, David was ranked ahead of Rafa, but no one could have noticed that in the title match on March 2.
Nadal scored a dominant 6-0, 6-2 triumph in 65 minutes, the most impressive in all 26 against his great friend over the years! Rafa lost 12 points in seven service games and erased both break chances offered to Ferrer. Nadal took almost 60% of the return points and notched five breaks from eight opportunities to leave the defending champion far behind.
Hitting under ten winners and 20 unforced errors, David never stood a chance against such a strong rival. Rafa tamed his shots nicely and finished his duties with more winners than unforced errors. The younger Spaniard had the edge in the shortest exchanges and destroyed Ferrer in more extended ones to cross the finish line in no time.
Nadal broke in the encounter's first game following Ferrer's loose forehand. He cemented the break after another forehand mistake from the older Spaniard in game two and embraced a 3-0 advantage thanks to more forehand misses from David.
Rafa saved a break point in game four and brought it home with a service winner. He delivered another break with a forehand winner and clinched the opener with a hold at 15 in game six when Ferrer netted a forehand to serve a bagel.
Rafa broke at 15 in the second set's first game and extended his streak. Nadal landed a service winner for a 6-0, 2-0 advantage and raced toward the finish line. David finally held in the third game to avoid a complete disaster and earned a break chance in the next game.
He squandered it with a poor backhand and paid the price a few minutes later. Ferrer netted his forehand in game five to drop serve and fall 4-1 behind. Staying focused and composed, Nadal held at 15 to remain two breaks in front and served for the title at 5-2.
Three winners in game eight pushed Rafa over the edge, finishing the job with a backhand down the line winner to secure his second Acapulco crown in the event's last edition on clay.
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