In a field that featured five of the world’s Top 10 players, Sam Querrey is the last man standing at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. The American completed his dream week in Acapulco with a stunning 6-3, 7-6(3) upset over second seed Rafael Nadal in Saturday’s final.
Querrey is the first American champion in the tournament’s 24-year history. He scored his first win over the Spaniard, improving his FedEx Head2Head record against Nadal to 1-4. The victory also breaks Nadal’s perfect record in Acapulco. The 2005 and 2013 champion entered the match with a 14-0 record and had not lost a set in any of his previous matches.
The World No. 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings picked up his ninth ATP World Tour singles title and second at the 500-level, having won the Memphis Open in 2010. Querrey advanced through a difficult draw in Acapulco that included wins over fifth seed David Goffin in the second-round, fourth seed Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals and sixth seed Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals. He had gone 0-7 against Top 20 players since defeating Novak Djokovic last year in the third-round of Wimbledon, but shattered that streak with four consecutive Top 20 wins this week. Querrey is projected to move back inside the Top 30 on Monday.
Nadal was bidding to win his 70th ATP World Tour singles title and would have become one of just five players to achieve that feat, joining Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (89) and John McEnroe (77). A victory over Querrey would have given him his first hard-court title since winning the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in January 2014. Nadal is still seeking his first title of 2017, having also finished runner-up at the Australian Open (l. Federer).
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Both players traded routine service holds to start the opening set, but Querrey moved into another gear at 3-3. The American went on a staggering 11-point run, rifling a backhand return winner to grab the lone break of serve at 4-3. A forehand winner on Querrey’s second set point broke Nadal’s perfect record of 28 consecutive sets won in Acapulco.
But in typical Nadal fashion, the Spaniard came out with renewed vigour in the second set. Nadal imposed himself in the majority of Querrey’s service games, but the American continued to dig himself out of trouble with brilliant serving. Querrey saved five break points on his serve at 3-4, three of which were erased with aces.
Nadal and Querrey traded holds throughout the set to force a tie-break, but it was the second seed who blinked first. A pair of baseline errors sent wide gifted Querrey a 6/3 lead and the American leapt in the air in celebration after a forehand long from Nadal wrapped up the contest after one hour and 34 minutes.