New world No.1 Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal renew rivalry in Acapulco semis

Reuters
Bangalore, India Updated: Feb 25, 2022, 09:44 PM(IST)

Daniil Medvedev will take on Rafael Nadal in the semi-final in Acapulco. Photograph:( AFP )

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New world number one Daniil Medvedev will meet Rafael Nadal in the semi-final of the ATP 500 event after defeating Japan`s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2 6-3 in the quarter-final. 

New world number one Daniil Medvedev defeated Japan`s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2 6-3 in Acapulco on Thursday to storm into the semi-finals of the ATP 500 event, where he will take on Rafa Nadal in an Australian Open final rematch.

Medvedev, who took the court hours after Novak Djokovic`s quarter-final loss in Dubai meant the Russian would replace him atop the rankings, converted six break points and fired down 12 aces, including one to seal the match.

"It`s not easy, actually, to play a match when you get this (news) during the day," Medvedev said in his on-court interview when asked about becoming world number one.

"So then when I was receiving all the messages, well I understood that, yeah OK, it`s going to happen."

After blitzing his way through the first set, during which he converted all three break point chances and won 80% of his first serve points, Medvedev was forced to rally back in the second after falling behind 3-1.

Up next for Medvedev is Australian Open champion Nadal, who made a blistering start against world number 39 Tommy Paul but faced a second set fightback from the American amid increasing humidity to prevail 6-0 7-6(5).

Medvedev squandered a two-set lead against Nadal in their previous meeting in Melbourne in January, allowing the Spaniard to clinch a men`s record 21st Grand Slam title.

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

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"Everybody knows how difficult it is to play against Daniil," Nadal said. "I know I have to play at my 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.

"Kind of a chance to get my revenge," said Medvedev. "You have to learn from the best, which is him, Roger (Federer), Novak, Andy (Murray) ... always when they were losing a tough fight, they were trying to get their revenge."

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was runner-up in Acapulco last year, also reached the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-4 victory over American Marcos Giron and has not dropped a set this week.

Tsitsipas will face British sixth seed Cameron Norrie who lost just one game to hammer Germany`s Peter Gojowczyk 6-1 6-0 in the day`s final match on the main showcourt.

Gojowczyk had received a walkover to the quarters after last year`s champion Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the event for his assault on an umpire`s chair.

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