ATP Acapulco: Nick Kyrgios knocks off Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal struggles, but advances

ATP Acapulco: Nick Kyrgios knocks off Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal struggles, but advances

Novak Djokovic is out of the Mexican Open after Nick Kyrgios ended his run in Acapulco. Rafael Nadal had a tough test against Yoshihito Nishioka. Dominic Thiem fell to Sam Querrey and Marin Cilic is into the semifinals without playing.

Liliana Martinez

It was an intense day at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel as quarterfinals were played. Marin Cilic didn't step on court as his opponent Steve Johnson withdrew prior the match due to an injury. Rafael Nadal scored another win, but it wasn't easy. The match of the day featured Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios, the Australian gave a serving masterclass on his way to upset the top seed in straight sets.

Rafael Nadal continues his winning streak in Acapulco

The second seed, Rafael Nadal had a tough task against Yoshihito Nishioka. The 21-year-old showed no sign of nerves as after an exchange of holds, the Japanese capitalized his chances and after two break points he finally fired a forehand winner to take the break. He later would confirm the break to lead 3-1. The Japanese was playing inspired tennis, but being the champion he is, Nadal was ready to prepare a comeback into the set. The pair traded holds twice and it was the turn of Nishioka to serve for a 5-3 lead, but the Spaniard struck back and broke to level things to 4-4. Despite losing the advantage, the Japanese didn’t lower his guard and continued playing solid tennis. The set was forced to be decided in a tiebreak. The Japanese lost his first two serves and was not able to bounce back, leaving Nadal to take the set, 7-6(2).

Just like in the opening set, the first one to retaliate was the Japanese after an unforced error from the Spaniard. However, a cross-court backhand winner from Nadal helped him recover the break and after a hold to 15, the one from Mallorca leveled the set to 2-2. The momentum shifted and now it was Nadal who was in full control of the situation as he broke for the second time for a 3-2 lead which he would later confirm with a hold to go up 4-2. The pair held their respectively serves as Nadal stood one game away from the semifinals. The Japanese now had to serve to stay in the set, but the Spaniard was ready to end this match and after a long battle a match point finally arrived. A smash winner gave Nadal the victory after a match that lasted almost two hours. Rafael Nadal defeated Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal struggled to defeat Yoshihito Nishioka. (Photo: Mextenis)

Sam Querrey stuns the defending champion 

Defending champion, Dominic Thiem had to face Sam Querrey in a familiar setting as both players had previously played last year in the semifinals of Acapulco where the Austrian came out victorious, but last night the story took a turn. Thiem had one break opportunity in the opening game, but two big serves from Querrey saved him from the trouble. It seemed like a good start for the one from Austria but an erratic game of serve gave Querrey the early break who after a solid game of serve trailed with a 3-0 lead. Thiem got onto the scoreboard with a hold to love that was ended with an ace. Once again, the American did good use of his serve to stay up at 4-1. Some unlucky mistakes helped Querrey to break again and be in the comfortable position of serving out for the set. The American needed only 23 minutes to take the opener, 6-1. 

After an erratic performance in the first set, Thiem seemed to have found his game as he avoided any break point but looked frustrated as he created chances on the American’s serve, but those were quickly erased with an ace. The first break point came when as Thiem led 3-2, but once again Querrey made good use of his serve to wipe out that threat. At last, the one from Austria counterattacked and broke to 15 to lead 5-3 and serve for the second set. It looked like Thiem was now in control, but Querrey didn’t want to take this to a third set and broke back to later consolidate the break with a hold to love. The momentum changed again, this time coming back to the American who managed to score another break and now he was the one serving out the match. Thiem raced to a 0-40 lead, but a few aces from the American and unforced errors from the Austrian ended his chances as Querrey finished the match with his best shot, an ace. It took over an hour for Sam Querrey to avenge last year’s semifinals as he defeated Dominic Thiem 6-1, 7-5. 

Dominic Thiem is not going to be able to defend the title as Sam Querrey ended his run in Acapulco. (Photo: Mextenis)

Nick Kyrgios shocks Novak Djokovic in epic battle

Last night of the match was an expected encounter as Novak Djokovic had to take on Nick Kyrgios for the first time. The match was awaited for many and didn’t disappoint as both played their best tennis. The Serbian began the match with a solid hold to love but the Australian counterattacked with serves that exceed the 200 km/h which leave Djokovic, one of the best returners on tour, barely able to hit back. Neither player seemed ready to give up their serve, but although the Serbian was playing great tennis, especially in the long rallies, it was the Australian who seemed relaxed and didn’t show any signs of anxiety as he took his time to build the point. It was until the sixth game that the first break point happened when the top seed had the chance to break Kyrgios, but the Australian didn’t flinch to pounce a big serve that threw Djokovic out of the court. 

The match continued as both players resist to yield their serves. Eventually, the opening set was forced to be decided in a tiebreak. For the first eight points both players held their serve, but it was Kyrgios the first one to get the mini break. After a big serve, the first set point arrived but Kyrgios double-faulted. Then it was Djokovic who had set point, but the Australian pounced a big serve, to later get a second set point. Back on serve, Djokovic changed the scoreboard to his favor to bring a second set point for the Serbian, but it was Kyrgios who was now about to serve and as expected he fired up two big aces to get a third set point, this time the Australian finally converted when Djokovic hit a long forehand to give out the first set, 7-6.

Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios after their quarterfinal match. (Photo: Getty Images/Miguel Tovar/STF)

The intensity of the match didn’t drop in the second set but the Serbian still couldn’t find a way to counter back the Australian’s serve who kept outlasting Djokovic whenever the Serbian seemed to have created chances to turn around the match. After a solid set of tennis from both players, it was a matter of time for one of them to yield their serves. The Australian had a hold to love to be up 6-5 and secure a tiebreak, but now the pressure was back for the Serbian who had to serve to stay in the match. The Serbian who has struggled with his consistency in the last months showed some signs of weakness in an erratic game as he helped Kyrgios to get three match points. The Australian seized his chances as he pounced a forehand winner to complete the upset and defeat Novak Djokovic 7-6, 7-5.

Day Five

In the second match on Center Court, Rafael Nadal will take on Marin Cilic. The match of the night would be a meeting between two big serves as Nick Kyrgios faces Sam Querrey, the encounter won’t start before 10:00 pm (local time)