Rafael Nadal takes on qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarter-final of ATP Mexican Open in Acapulco on Thursday (Friday morning, Singapore time).
The two-time champion decimated world number 30 Mischa Zverev in the opening round in straight sets - 6-4, 6-3, and went past his second-round opponent Paolo Lorenzi (6-1, 6-1) in just 66 minutes to book his place in the last-eight of the ongoing tournament.
Nadal has been in tremendous form in the ongoing season, reaching at least the quarter-final of the tournaments he has played so far. On his return from an injury lay-off, that kept him out of action towards the close of last season, the 14-time Grand Slam champion exceeded expectations to set up a final clash with Roger Federer at the Australian Open only to go down fighting in the fifth and final set of the match.
However, Nadal looked sharp and was ready to battle in five-setters, much to the delight of his fans. He has carried his form into the ongoing tournament and showcased his intentions on the opening day itself by demolishing Mischa, who stunned Andy Murray in Melbourne last month.
Nadal will be up against the 21-year-old Japanese player, whom he has not met in the past. Yoshihito stunned seventh seed Jack Sock as early as in the opening round. After losing the first set 6-3, the qualifier came back to win the match 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, following which he ousted higher-ranked Australian Jordan Thompson.
Yoshihito has, for the first time, gone past the third round in the ongoing season but any chances of him progressing further in Acapulco looks bleak as the rejuvenated Nadal looks hungry for more after his Australian Open disappointment.
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