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Rafael Nadal continues perfect start to season with Acapulco title
The 21-time Grand Slam champion is now 15-0 on the year after lifting his record-tying fourth Acapulco trophy.
Published Feb 27, 2022
21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal continued his perfect start to the 2022 season in Acapulco on Saturday night, defeating Cameron Norrie in the final of the ATP 500 event, 6-4, 6-4, to improve to 15-0 on the year.
It’s his fourth career title in Acapulco, winning it twice on clay (in 2005 and 2013) and now twice since it switched to hard courts (in 2020 and 2022). He actually tied the record for most career titles in Acapulco—Thomas Muster won it four times in the 1990s (on clay) and David Ferrer won it four times in the 2010s (three on clay, one on hard).
“It always has been a very special place,” Nadal told ATPTour.com after the match. “The energy that the people from Mexico bring to me is very unique.”
Though Nadal had been 14-0 on the year going into the final, in Norrie he was going up against someone else riding a hefty winning streak—the British No. 1 had won his last eight matches in a row, winning the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach last week and picking up another four wins en route to the final in Acapulco, including an upset over No. 4-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals, the equal-best win of his career.
After four holds to open the match, Nadal drew first blood with a break in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead—which turned out to be the only break point of the first set—and the two held from there until Nadal pocketed the set, 6-4.
There were some momentum shifts in the second set, as Nadal broke to go up 1-0, then Norrie broke right back and held for 2-1, then Nadal won four straight games to go up a double break at 5-2, then Norrie got one of the breaks back and caught up to 5-4.
But getting the second break back proved too much for Norrie, as Nadal served it out on his second attempt for a one-hour, 54-minute victory.
Nadal finished the match with almost twice as many winners as unforced errors against one of the most consistent players on the tour—19 to 11—and converted four of his five break point opportunities in the match, as well.
With his victory in Acapulco this past week, Nadal continues to build on some already mindblowing numbers, in addition to his aforementioned 15-0 start to the season, which has now brought him his 89th, 90th and 91st career ATP titles at the Melbourne Summer Set, the Australian Open and now Acapulco:
~ He’s now 25-2 in his career in Acapulco, winning his last 10 matches in a row at the ATP 500 event (as well as his last 20 sets in a row).
~ He’s now won his last 11 finals in a row, as well as 16 of his last 17, and 22 of his last 24.
~ He’s now won his last 23 matches in a row against fellow lefties.
~ This was his 25th career ATP hard-court title (also 62 on clay and 4 on grass).
~ He’s now 120-18 at ATP 500 events since the ATP 500 level of tournament officially began in 2009, winning 15 of the 33 ATP 500 events he’s played in that time.
And finally, Nadal already held the record for both youngest and oldest player ever to win in Acapulco, doing it as an 18-year-old in 2005 and, previously, as a 33-year-old in 2020—he now one-ups his own record for oldest player to win the event, now 35.