Rafael Nadal felt his latest success at the Mexican Open was an important moment in his season after he made an impressive return to action.

Following a quarter-final exit to Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open that saw him lose the world number one ranking, the Spaniard earned his third Acapulco title without dropping a set.

Nadal saw off Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-2 in the final of the ATP 500 event for his 85th Tour-level title and first of 2020, taking momentum from his enjoyable spell in Mexico.

"After not competing since Australia, it's an important week for me and an important moment," said the 33-year-old.

"I couldn't be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end. I played solid, with the right intensity, the right passion and my forehand worked well.

"This title doesn't mean that I will have a great season. It means another good start. It gives me confidence and allows me to be in a privileged position in the ATP Race [To London]. 

"I am always happy after playing here. Now imagine how I am after getting the title!"

Nadal's success came as rival Novak Djokovic also won this week, claiming a 6-3 6-4 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championship.

Djokovic has an 18-0 record this season having won the ATP Cup with Serbia and followed that up with the Australian Open and his fifth crown in Dubai.

He joked about going the whole of 2020 unbeaten in his on-court interview and laughed it off again in a later discussion with reporters while explaining his determination to continue the hot streak.

"Of course, I'm trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am," Djokovic said.

"This has been one of the best starts of all seasons I had in my career. It has started in the most perfect way possible.

"I am aware, most of the matches that I'm going to play, the players will not have much to lose. They will go out and try to play their best and stop the streak.

"At the same time, the more I win, the more confident and comfortable I feel. I'm just grateful that I'm playing well, feeling well. I've won many matches now in a row. I'll try to keep that run going."

Nadal and Djokovic are both scheduled to return to action in Indian Wells for the first Masters 1000 event of the season from March 12.

Rafael Nadal secured his 85th ATP Tour title with a resounding win over Taylor Fritz in the Mexican Open final on Saturday.

The Spanish great proved too good for Fritz 6-3 6-2 in just 74 minutes in the decider in Acapulco.

Nadal won the ATP 500 title for a third time and first since the event changed from clay to hard-court in 2014.

The 19-time grand slam champion did not drop a set at this year's tournament on his way to a first title of 2020.

Nadal only lost nine points on serve in his victory, while managing three breaks in a comfortable win over the American.

The 33-year-old grabbed a break in the eighth game of the first set before winning five straight in the second on his way to the title.

Only Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (103) and Ivan Lendl (94) have won more ATP Tour titles than Nadal's 85 in the Open Era.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, Casper Ruud will face Thiago Seyboth Wild in the final.

Novak Djokovic won his fifth Dubai Tennis Championship after extending his perfect start to 2020 with an impressive win in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The world number one extended his record this year to 18-0 as he triumphed 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 18 minutes on Saturday.

Djokovic added the ATP 500 title to his victory at the Australian Open, which had followed his role inspiring Serbia to glory at the inaugural ATP Cup.

After saving three match points against Gael Monfils in the semis, the Serbian relished his 79th Tour title as Tsitsipas lost in the final for the second straight year, having been beaten by Roger Federer last season.

Djokovic was playing in Dubai for the first time since 2016 and had not won the event since his fourth success seven years ago. 

Tsitsipas came into the match in form having built on his Open 13 Marseille triumph with a strong run to the final and he forced the first break point in the fifth game, though he could not convert.

A wide backhand from the Greek as he served at 3-4 gave Djokovic his first opportunity and the 17-time major champion seized it with a brilliant sliding backhand pass, before claiming the set with backhand down the line in the next game.

Top seed Djokovic built a 0-30 lead in the opening game of the second set only for Tsitsipas to halt his momentum with what looked like a key hold.

The players exchanged breaks when Djokovic moved 3-2 up only for his opponent to strike straight back, the Serbian sending a forehand long moments after the Greek had come out on top in a 25-shot rally.

But the more experienced player delivered when it mattered most, forcing two chances at 4-4 and taking the first when a Tsitsipas backhand found the net.

Djokovic had few problems serving it out, quickly earning three match points and needing just one as a backhand winner led to him embracing Tsitsipas before letting out a passionate celebration on court as his fantastic form continued.

Rafael Nadal is one win away from this third Mexican Open crown after beating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets to advance to the Acapulco final.

Top seed Nadal was too good for Dimitrov en route to his fourth Mexican Open decider, triumphing 6-3 6-2 in convincing fashion at the ATP 500 tournament on Friday.

Nadal won the event in 2005 and 2013 and the 19-time grand slam champion has the chance to claim a hat-trick of Acapulco titles after maintaining his relentless form.

"I'm very happy. A great victory against one of the best players in the world and a good friend," Nadal said. "I think I've increased my level during the match, so it's positive for me."

Spanish star Nadal recovered from 1-2 start, reeling off four consecutive games with some powerful baseline winners to seize control against seventh seed Dimitrov.

It was a similar theme in the second set as Dimitrov broke for a 2-0 lead but that was as good as it got for the Bulgarian – Nadal going on a six-game run to close out proceedings in one hour, 41 minutes.

Awaiting world number two Nadal in the final is Taylor Fritz after the American stunned fifth seed John Isner 2-6 7-5 6-3 in a stunning comeback.

"He's playing well. He has a great serve, fantastic shots from the baseline. It's going to be a tough one," Nadal said. "I know I'm going to have to be at my best and I hope to be ready for it."

At the Chile Open, second seed Casper Ruud defeated seventh seed Federico Delbonis 7-5 7-5 to book his spot in the semi-final.

Ruud – the first Norwegian to win an ATP Tour title in Buenos Aires – will next meet third seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who saw off Thiago Monteiro 6-4 6-4 in Santiago.

Top seed Cristian Garin was forced to retire due to a leg injury after losing the first set 7-6 (7-1) to Thiago Seyboth Wild, while Renzo Olivo upstaged Pablo Cuevas 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

Novak Djokovic sensationally maintained his perfect record against Gael Monfils after surviving three match points in a second-set tie-break to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships final.

World number one Djokovic was 16-0 across all matches in 2020 and in his career against Monfils heading into Friday's meeting.

But the 17-time grand slam winner looked set to see his bid for a fifth Dubai championship end prematurely as Monfils led by a set and a break prior to a dramatic conclusion to the second.

Monfils had collected titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam across his own recent winning streak, yet his Djokovic hoodoo somehow continued.

"It was truly an escape," Djokovic said. "He [Monfils] was clearly a better player for two sets. I was fortunate to work my way back in the second set."

The Frenchman was on top early on and broke in just the third game of the opener, later extending his lead courtesy of the latest in a series of tame Djokovic drop shots.

Djokovic was then spectacularly broken to love in the second, only for Monfils' consistency to wane with the finish line in sight.

The top seed capitalised on the second of his first three break points and set about applying intense pressure to the Monfils serve, but two mammoth holds prompted a remarkable tie-break.

Monfils squandered three opportunities for victory as 10 of the first 11 points went against the serve, Djokovic eventually seizing his fourth set point of the breaker and ninth of the set with a double fault.

Showing visible signs of fatigue, Monfils was broken to love early in the decider and dropped serve again before calling for the trainer, with brief treatment to his left leg unable to arrest the slump as Djokovic clinched a 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 victory.

Djokovic will next go up against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who cruised through to the Dubai decider for a second year running.

The in-form Greek won the Open 13 Marseille title last week and made it eight straight victories with a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 result against Dan Evans.

Tsitsipas, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2019 final, now believes he can move up another level against Djokovic.

"I'm really impressed by the quality of my game today," he said of the Evans win. "I really hope to bring the same and possibly even better in the next round."

Rafael Nadal cruised into the Mexican Open semi-finals after the top seed outclassed Kwon Soon-woo in straight sets.

Nadal was in devastating form as the 19-time grand slam champion dismantled Kwon 6-2 6-1 at the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco on Thursday.

After crushing Miomir Kecmanovic in the last 16, Nadal continued his ruthless path through the draw at the expense of the rising South Korean in one hour, 31 minutes.

Nadal – eyeing his third Acapulco title – hit 25 winners, 11 unforced errors and saved all eight break points he faced to set up a semi-final showdown with Grigor Dimitrov.

Bulgarian Dimitrov snapped a five-match losing streak against three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka by defeating the third seed 6-4 6-4.

Dimitrov – the 2014 Mexican Open champion – had not beaten Wawrinka since 2016 but the former world number three ended his drought in one hour, 25 minutes.

"I've played quite a few times against Stan and we've practised together so many times. Between us, it's mainly a mental battle," Dimitrov said. "I had lost the past five times against him, but those losses have inspired me. Those losses helped me. Even though it hurts saying it, I'm admitting it. I wanted to stand tall tonight."

John Isner – the fifth seed – booked his spot in the semis for the second successive year with a 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2 win over fellow American Tommy Paul.

Isner fired down 22 aces to set up a clash against countryman Taylor Fritz, who topped Kyle Edmund 6-4 6-3.

At the Chile Open, in-form top seed Cristian Garin extended his winning streak en route to the quarter-finals in Santiago.

Garin – the Cordoba and Rio Open champion – celebrated his 10th consecutive victory by downing Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 0-6 7-6 (7-4) at the ATP 250 event.

Fellow seeds Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Thiago Monteiro also progressed but fifth seed Juan Ignacio Londero was upstaged by wildcard Thiago Seyboth Wild 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

Novak Djokovic made light work of Karen Khachanov as he cruised into the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championship with a 6-2 6-2 victory on Thursday.

World number one Djokovic only needed a cumulative two hours to see off Malek Jaziri and Philipp Kohlschreiber in his opening matches in the United Arab Emirates and seventh seed Khachanov was unable to provide much more resistance.

The 17-time grand slam champion racked up his 16th win of 2020 in one hour, six minutes to move two matches away from a fifth title in Dubai and ensure he will remain at the top of the rankings come Monday.

After saving a set point, Khachanov became the first player to engineer a break point against Djokovic in the tournament and it was converted when the top seed went long with a forehand.

Djokovic wrapped up the first set when Khachanov buried a backhand into the net and he went a break up in the second after a fine lob.

The world number 17 was unable to return a fierce forehand into the corner when facing match point and consequently exited the competition.

Asked in an on-court interview if he is playing some of the best tennis of his career, Djokovic said: "That's too big of a statement, but I'm definitely feeling well and playing well.

"Tough match for Karen, I think he can do much better than he did. It wasn't his day, but on my side I think I played a very solid match."

Stefanos Tsitsipas came from a set down to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6 6-4 6-4 and advance to the semi-finals.

The second seed, who won his first title of the year in Marseille last weekend, came from 40-0 down at 4-4 in the decider to break before closing out the victory on serve.

Tsitsipas will face Daniel Evans next after the world number 37 overcame Andrey Rublev 6-2 7-6 (11-9) to reach his first semi-final of the season and fourth of his career.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Novak Djokovic talked up the quality of the "powerful" Karen Khachanov after he and the Russian booked a quarter-final meeting at the Dubai Tennis Championship. 

After dominating his first-round encounter against Malek Jaziri in one hour, Djokovic won a similarly straightforward contest with Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-1 in just 59 minutes on Wednesday.

In the build-up, Djokovic had pointed to his loss against Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells last year on the previous occasion they had met on a hard court as evidence he was facing a big test.

But the Serbian triumphed without facing a break point, hitting 23 winners and just 10 unforced errors in improving his 2020 record to 15-0.

Khachanov, who has won one of his three meetings with Djokovic, moved through after seeing off Dennis Novak 6-3 6-4.

"I've had some interesting battles with him," Djokovic said of Khachanov. "He is a great guy, a very powerful player. 

"He is one of the guys who is a pretender to be top five, top 10. He is very dedicated, so hopefully I'll be as sharp as I have been in the past two matches and start well."

Djokovic felt he had barely put a foot wrong against Kohlschreiber, who at 36-years-old is now ranked at number 80.

"It was a great performance," said the Australian Open champion. "I enjoyed the way I played, coming out with the right focus and tactics. 

"Knowing Philipp beat me 12 months ago in Indian Wells, I needed to approach this match very seriously regardless of his ranking."

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas joined Djokovic in the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 event, beating Alexander Bublik – a player he also got the better of en route to Open 13 Marseille glory last week - 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Tsitsipas will now play Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Andrey Rublev saw off Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 to book a clash with Dan Evans, who was on the brink of elimination but saved three match points in a thriller against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, eventually winning 7-5 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

Richard Gasquet eliminated fellow Frenchman and eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-4 6-4, while in-form Gael Monfils was a comfortable 6-1 6-2 winner over Yasutaka Uchiyama.

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev moved through at the Mexican Open, while Nick Kyrgios was booed as his title defence came to an end.

A two-time champion of the event, top seed Nadal cruised past Spanish compatriot Pablo Andujar 6-3 6-2 on Tuesday.

In competitive action for the first time since the Australian Open, Nadal needed just 90 minutes to post his fourth victory in as many meetings with Andujar.

Zverev, the second seed at the ATP 500 tournament, survived an early battle before getting past Jason Jung 7-6 (8-6) 6-1.

Last year's runner-up, Zverev served 12 aces and broke four times in his victory.

Kyrgios beat Zverev in the final in 2019, but the Australian lasted just 31 minutes in the first round.

Ugo Humbert took the first set 6-3 when Kyrgios retired due to a wrist injury, the 24-year-old receiving some boos as he left the court.

Kyrgios was the only seed to fall as Felix Auger-Aliassime, John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov and Dusan Lajovic advanced at the hard-court tournament.

Taylor Fritz, Pedro Martinez and Kwon Soon-woo were also among the winners.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Juan Ignacio Londero, Federico Delbonis and Thiago Monteiro all got through their first-round matches.

Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a defeat of Pablo Carreno Busta and Benoit Paire gained revenge over Marin Cilic on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas claimed his first title of the season by retaining his Open 13 Marseille on Sunday and saw off Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 two days later.

The second seed put the Spaniard under pressure with rasping returns and was broken just the once to set up a meeting with Alexander Bublik.

Paire saved four match points in a 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1) win over 2014 US Open champion Cilic and will face compatriot Richard Gasquet in round two.

Cilic knocked the Frenchman out of the Australian Open in the second round last month, but fell at the first hurdle in the United Arab Emirates.

Paire had lost five consecutive matches against the powerful Croatian, including a five-set battle at Melbourne Park, yet he fended off two match points in the second set and as many in third before bossing a decisive tie-break.

World number 37 Dan Evans claimed the scalp of fourth seed Fabio Fognini, winning 3-6 6-4 7-5 on day two of the tournament.

Fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut was another to suffer a surpise exit as he went down 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 to Jan-Lennard Struff.

Yasutaka Uchiyama, Filip Krajinovic, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nikoloz Basilashvili were also first-round winners.

 

Stan Wawrinka was forced into a huge battle before advancing in the Mexican Open first round on Monday.

Wawrinka, the third seed at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, needed two hours, 45 minutes to edge Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-1).

The Swiss three-time grand slam champion squandered four match points before battling through.

Wawrinka was the only seed in action on Monday, as two American qualifiers – Tommy Paul and Marcos Giron – progressed.

Adrian Mannarino overcame wildcard Cameron Norrie 2-6 6-3 6-3, Miomir Kecmanovic edged past Alex de Minaur 3-6 6-4 6-3 and Kyle Edmund hammered Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open, sixth seed Hugo Dellien got through the first round, while Roberto Carballes Baena and wildcards Thiago Seyboth Wild and Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera also won.

Novak Djokovic is wary of falling victim to an upset as he prepares to face Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

The world number one will meet Kohlschreiber in the last 16 after he eased to a 6-1 6-2 win over Malek Jaziri on Monday, while the German emerged triumphant from a three-set battle against Mohamed Safwat.

Djokovic fell to a shock 6-4 6-4 defeat to Kohlschreiber in Indian Wells last year on the last occasion the two players met on a hard court.

While he has won three meetings with the 36-year-old since then, twice on clay and in another on grass, Djokovic will be taking no chances.

"I am aware of what he is capable of," Djokovic said. 

"I lost to him in straight sets in Indian Wells last year. He actually likes playing top players on a big stage. 

"He has lots of experience. He's very fit. He keeps on playing even at that age on a high level.

"I certainly will not underestimate him, I will prepare myself."

Djokovic is playing in Dubai for the first time since 2016, when he retired due to an eye injury in a quarter-final meeting with Feliciano Lopez.

He is a four-time champion and also made the final in 2015, when Roger Federer defeated him.

"As I've said in the press conference prior to the tournament, I miss playing here," said Djokovic, who has a 14-0 record in 2020 following his ATP Cup and Australian Open triumphs.

"I really enjoy it. I enjoy night sessions and I'm feeling good on the court. 

"[The Jaziri match] was another testament to the way I feel. I have confidence, I am obviously striking the ball well. Hopefully that can continue in the next match."

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.