‘I feel liberated… it’s incredible energy!’: Rafael Nadal says he’s able to play ‘without limitations’ for the first time in 18 MONTHS, as he beats Daniil Medvedev again to set up a Mexican Open showdown with Cam Norrie
- Rafael Nadal cruised into the final at the Mexican Open with a 6-3, 6-3 victory
- The Australian Open winner beat world No 1 Daniil Medvedev in Acapulco
- The Spaniard will now face in-form British No 1 Cameron Norrie in the final
Rafael Nadal has continued his terrific start to 2022 after reaching the Mexican Open final for the fifth time in his career.
The Spaniard sealed a 6-3, 6-3 straight-sets win over world number 1 Daniil Medvedev to remain undefeated in his 14 matches this year.
Nadal only recently fought back from two sets down against Russian Medvedev to win an epic five-set victory in the 2022 Australian Open and claim his 21st grand slam.
Rafael Nadal has continued his terrific start to 2022 by beating Daniil Medvedev to progress into the final of the Mexican Open
Nadal sealed a straight sets victory over world number 1 Medvedev in the semi-finals
But the 35-year-old is now playing without any limitations for the first time in 18 months after a number of injury set-backs during his career, but is now reaping the rewards.
Having sat out most of 2021 with a foot injury that required surgery in September.
‘As you know, I have better days and worse days. For me the most important thing, whether it hurts or not, is that I can play without limitations and that’s what I couldn’t do last year and I fear.
‘I feel liberated and in games that I’ve played the foot hasn’t been a problem. I enjoy every day that the foot allows me to play freely.’
Nadal survived a second-set fightback from Medvedev, who will overtake Novak Djokovic at the top of the world rankings on Monday.
After a relatively straightforward opening set, the Spaniard had to see off 11 break points across two successive service games in the second set before clinching victory.
Nadal survived a second-set fightback from Medvedev (pictured) in the semi-final at the Mexican Open
‘I have played against a rival who is number one and on the surface that he likes the most.
‘It is true that here in Acapulco the boat is happier and that favours me more. It is a victory of a high level that helps me and that confirms that things are going in a very positive way. Qualifying for the final in Acapulco means a lot and I’m very happy.’
‘The second set was very exciting. I think there were incredible points. In the first set, I think he tried to play more aggressive than usual and I It was good because I made very few mistakes.
Nadal had to see off 11 break points across two consecutive service games in the second set
‘I played well tactically and my serve worked well. It was the best day of the entire tournament.
‘Since I made the break in the second set, his level He has increased a lot.
‘He started to play aggressively without making mistakes, changing directions, playing with drop shots, serving well and I’ve saved 11 break balls in two games, which is already a lottery.’
Nadal will now take on Cameron Norrie in the final in Acapulco after the Brit claimed an impressive 6-4 6-4 win over world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas.