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Tennis-New World No. 1 Medvedev and Nadal renew rivalry in Acapulco semi-finals

ATP 500 - Abierto Mexicano
Tennis – ATP 500 – Abierto Mexicano – Fairmont Princess Acapulco, Acapulco, Mexico – February 24, 2022 Daniil Medvedev of Russia competes in the quarterfinals against Yoshihito Nishioka REUTERS / Henry Romero of Japan

February 25, 2022

(Reuters) – New world number one Daniil Medvedev beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2 6-3 at Acapulco on Thursday to advance to the semi-finals of the ATP 500 tournament where he will face off against Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open final rematch.

Medvedev, who was in court hours after Novak Djokovic’s quarter-final loss in Dubai means the Russian will replace him at the top of the standings, converting six break points and shooting down 12 aces , including one to end the game.

“Actually, it’s not easy to play a game when you get this (news) during the day,” Medvedev said in a field interview when asked about being number one in the world.

“So then when I got all the messages, I understood, yeah OK, it’s going to happen.”

After getting through the first set, in which he converted all three break points and won 80% of the first serve, Medvedev was forced to focus again in the second half after going 3-down. first.

Next up for Medvedev is Australian Open champion Nadal, who got off to a good start against world number 39 Tommy Paul but faced resistance in the second set from the American amid humidity increases to prevail 6-0 7-6 (5).

Medvedev wasted a two-set lead over Nadal in their previous meeting in Melbourne in January, allowing the Spaniard to claim his 21st men’s Grand Slam title.

He will have to be in top form to beat Nadal, who is on a 13-match winning streak in 2022 – the best start to a season of his career at 35.

“Everybody knows how difficult it is to play against Daniil,” said Nadal. “I know I have to play at the highest level if I want to have any chance, and that’s what I’m going to try.”

Medvedev said it would be special to face Nadal again.

“This is an opportunity for me to take revenge,” Medvedev said. “You have to learn from the best, it’s him, Roger (Federer), Novak, Andy (Murray)… it’s always when they lose a tough game they try to take revenge.”

World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, who finished second at Acapulco last year, also reached the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-4 victory over American Marcos Giron and is yet to lose a set this week.

Tsitsipas will face British sixth seed Cameron Norrie, who lost just one game to Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-1 6-0 in the final game of the day on the main show.

Gojowczyk received a place in the quarterfinals after last year’s champion Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the event for assault on the referee’s chair.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; additional reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kenneth Maxwell)

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Ashley

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