Rafael Nadal in his first action since his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title defeated Denis Kudla on Tuesday (February 22) at the ongoing Mexican Open. The Acapulco fourth seed picked up where he left off with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kudla. Nadal was in command throughout on the Mexican hard court and showed few signs of rust after three weeks out of competition.

With the win, he matches his best start to an ATP Tour season at 11-0. Nadal also won 11 straight matches to start the 2014 season, before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final.He dropped just four points on serve in the match and spent the bulk of it in cruise control after early breaks in both sets soothed any nerves.

Earlier, Daniil Medvedev began his pursuit of the No. 1 ATP Ranking when he defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4 in the opener. If the Russian wins the ATP 500, he is guaranteed to pass Novak Djokovic for the top spot on Monday regardless of the Serbian’s performance this week in Dubai.

Later in the day, Stefanos Tsitsipas earned his 200th tour-level win at the Mexican Open, where he overcame Serbian Laslo Djere 7-6(7), 7-6(4) to reach the second round. In a hard-fought battle, the Greek saved two set points in the first set at 5-4, 40/30 on Djere’s serve and then at 6/7 in the tie-break, before he edged a tight second set to advance after two hours and 15 minutes at the ATP 500 event.




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