Fifteen years after capturing his first title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, Rafael Nadal is in position to once again wear the winner’s sombrero in Acapulco. The top-seeded Majorcan booked his place in the final with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 victory on Friday against seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
"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."
The two-time champion (2005, 2013) improved to 18-2 at this event and remained flawless (4-0) in Acapulco semi-finals. He also continued his dominance over Dimitrov (13-1) in their ATP Head2Head series. Nadal has yet to lose a set this week and only dropped 20 games across his first four matches.
Nadal’s return of serve has been particularly dangerous. The Majorcan leads the tournament in return games won (58%, 19 of 33) and converted 19 of 28 break points (68%).
Standing between him and an Acapulco hat trick is Taylor Fritz, who defeated fifth seed John Isner in an all-American semi-final. This will be the first ATP Head2Head meeting between Nadal and Fritz.
"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."