ACAPULCO, Mexico: Two-time champion Rafael Nadal raced past third-seeded Marin Cilic 6-1, 6-2 to reach the ATP Mexico Open final, where his perfect Acapulco record will be put to the test by Sam Querrey.
Querrey ousted Nick Kyrgios 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 to bring the sixth-seeded Australian’s giant-killing run to a halt a day after Kyrgios stunned world number two Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
Second-seeded Nadal, playing his first tournament since falling to Roger Federer in an epic five-set final at the Australian Open in January, has won all 14 matches he has played in Acapulco, where he lifted the trophy in 2005 and 2013.
“I have to be playing well to win like this against a player like Marin, so I’m pleased with the performance,” said Nadal, who withdrew from last month’s tournament in Rotterdam after doctors told him he needed some rest after his run to the final in Melbourne.
Querrey and Kyrgios were neck and neck in the third set when the American produced the first break of the set in the final game to seize the victory.
Querrey had saved the only break point he faced in the set with a 135 mile per hour serve in the fifth game.
Kyrgios, 21, had appeared on his way when he closed out the first set by winning four straight games.
But after leading 40-15 in the opening game of the second set he was broken, and suddenly seemed at sea and Querrey took the set in just 23 minutes as Kyrgios’ mistakes multiplied.
In the women’s section, seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko booked a WTA title showdown with France’s Kristina Mladenovic after illness forced top-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to retire while trailing against the Ukrainian.
Mladenovic made it into her second final of the year, holding off fifth-seeded American Christina McHale 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.