QUER­REY ENDS NADAL’S MEX­ICO RUN

Amer­i­can breaks Spa­niard’s per­fect record

New Straits Times - - Sport -

UN­SEEDED Amer­i­can Sam Quer­rey stunned sec­ond-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) on Satur­day to win the ATP Mex­ico Open and end the Spa­niard’s run of per­fec­tion in Aca­pulco.

Quer­rey, ranked 40th in the world, fired 19 aces, backed up by pow­er­ful, pre­cise ground­strokes, en route to his first ca­reer vic­tory over Nadal in five meet­ings.

The Spa­niard, the 2005 and 2013 cham­pion, had never even lost a set in Aca­pulco.

“I’m ec­static,” Quer­rey said. “To do it against Rafa makes it even a lit­tle sweeter.”

Quer­rey cap­tured his ninth ATP ti­tle in an im­pres­sive week that saw him beat four top-10 play­ers — Bel­gian David Gof­fin, Aus­trian Do­minic Thiem, Aus­tralian Nick Kyr­gios and six­thranked Nadal.

He’s pro­jected to re­turn to the top 30 in the world rank­ings on Mon­day.

“It’s def­i­nitely a tour­na­ment that I’m go­ing to re­mem­ber for the rest of my life,” Quer­rey said.

“It’s just one of those weeks where I got in the zone and ev­ery­thing was work­ing for me. I hope I can have more like this.

“Af­ter the match against Gof­fin, I knew I could go far here if I con­tin­ued to play at that level,” he added.

“My fore­hand and back­hand were great and my serve bailed me out of trou­ble when I needed it.”

Nadal, play­ing his first tour­na­ment since fall­ing to Roger Fed­erer in five sets in the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal, was de­nied his first hard court ti­tle since Doha in 2014.

Quer­rey sur­ren­dered just four points on his serve in the open­ing set and he broke Nadal at love to seize a 5-3 ad­van­tage.

He served it out com­fort­ably, fir­ing a fore­hand win­ner on his sec­ond set point af­ter just half an hour.

Nadal made more in­roads in the sec­ond set, but couldn’t con­vert any of his six break chances.

That in­cluded five in the eighth game – three of which Quer­rey neu­tral­ized with aces.

They went on serve to the tiebreaker, where Nadal fal­tered first.

A brace of base­line er­rors from Nadal gave Quer­rey a 6-3 lead and a chance to serve for the ti­tle, with Nadal send­ing a fore­hand long on the Amer­i­can’s first match point.

“He played very well, al­most reach­ing per­fec­tion,” Nadal said.

“I played un­der a lot of pres­sure be­cause of his serve and base­line game. He left me with very few op­tions, and the few I had he also played good.”

EPA PIC

Sam Quer­rey (left) poses with the tro­phy af­ter beat­ing Rafael Nadal in the fi­nal of the Mex­i­can Open on Satur­day.

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