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Nadal Matches Personal Best 11-0 Start After Opening Win in Acapulco

2022 has been nothing but a sweet surprise for Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard entered with extremely low expectations as he eased back into the sport after missing the final five months of 2021 due to a foot injury, and here he is in Acapulco, with a career-best 11-0 start under his best that includes a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at this year’s Australian Open.

On Tuesday in Acapulco the Spaniard moved past American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-2 to book a second-round clash with American Stefan Kozlov. Only once has Nadal won his first 11 matches of a tennis season – and never more than that.

But things just seem to be breaking Nadal’s way in 2022. With a clean bill of health he benefitted from Novak Djokovic’s unfortunate deportation at Melbourne, but he did most of the work on his own, rallying from two sets down in a Grand Slam final for the first time in his career for one of the greatest victories of his career.

In Acapulco, where he is a three-time champion, Nadal rides a six-match winning streak. He has not lost a set since falling in the 2019 final to Nick Kyrgios, and appears to be headed for another clash with top-seeded Daniil Medvedev – the pair would meet in the semifinals if the seeds hold.

Nadal moved a step closer to that matchup with a solid, dominant win over Kudla, who dropped to 0-13 lifetime against the Top-10 with the loss. The American, ranked 100, played well, but Nadal was aggressive and authoritative when he needed to be as he dictated terms and stayed in control throughout the contest.

“It has been a positive match. I think I started playing well, a good victory in straight sets. That’s always very positive for the confidence,” he said. “I think I played a very solid match for the first day. Of course there are a couple of things that I can do better, but in general terms, I played well so I can’t complain at all.”

No complaints. No regrets. Just 100 percent dedication to playing the sport he loves at the age of 35. It’s been a remarkable two months for Nadal, and as the clay season approaches, one gets the feeling that it could get even better.

 

Source: Tennisnow

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