Blistering forehands and precision serving saw Rafael Nadal book his place in the Mexico Open final at the expense of Grigor Dimitrov.
I think I've increased my level during the match, so it's positive for me. Rafa Nadal
He beat the Bulgarian 6-3 6-2 after 101-minutes and is now favourite to claim his third title in Acapulco when he faces the unseeded Taylor Fritz in the championship round.
The Spanish world No.2 first won the title 15 years ago following it up in 2013 to establish an 18-2 overall record at the event. This year he has lost just 20 games during the week and has yet to lose a set.
“I’m very happy. A great victory against one of the best players in the world and a good friend,” Nadal said after his comfortable win. “I think I’ve increased my level during the match, so it’s positive for me.”
The top seed clinched the victory on his first match point having fallen behind 0-30 in that eighth game but rallied to win the next four points, claiming the match by chasing down a net-cord shot and whipping it away for a winner for his 13th win over the Bulgarian in 14 meetings.
Meanwhile in the bottom half of the draw, Fritz came through with a 2-6 7-5 6-3 win over the fifth seeded John Isner to face Nadal who commented: “He’s playing well. He has a great serve, fantastic shots from the baseline. It’s going to be a tough one. “I know I’m going to have to be at my best and I hope to be ready for it.”
This will be the first meeting between Nadal and the 22-year-old Fritz.