Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022

Unlucky for some but not Rafael Nadal, 13th win extends best ever season start

Rafael Nadal has now gone two wins further than his previous best season start of 11-0 achieved in 2014 after downing Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals of Acapulco.

However, he will have to defeat Daniil Medvedev in a rematch of the Australian Open final to win a 14th match in a row in 2022.

While the streak could end there, Nadal has only been getting better, at least according to his results in Mexico.

The 21-time Slam champion did not register a single bagel set in his first 10 match wins of the year, but has now recorded two in back-to-back victories over Stefan Kozlov and Tommy Paul.

“I think I played one of the best sets [for a long time],” Nadal said of the opener against Paul, who he downed 6-0 7-6 (7-5) to reach the last four.

“I played fantastic in the first set.

“In the beginning of the second I made a couple of mistakes, and then [Paul] started playing better and better.

“The set became a little bit crazy with a lot of breaks.”

The second set saw a total of six service breaks, three for each player, before the match was decided when Nadal won a tiebreak.

As mentioned, Nadal faces incoming world number one Medvedev after the Russian overcame Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka convincingly 6-2, 6-3.

It will be a sixth meeting between the pair, with Nadal leading the head-to-head 4-1.

Medvedev’s only victory came in the round robin stage of the 2020 ATP Finals, an event the 26-year-old went on to win.

Finally, their encounter in Acapulco will be their lowest level ATP match yet.

They have previously faced each other twice at Slam level, both finals, twice at the ATP Finals and once at Masters 1000 level, their first ever meeting, in the final of the 2019 Canadian Masters.

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