Rafael Nadal appeared to have discovered his best vein of form since his return to the tour as he trounced Martin Alund 6-0, 6-4 in an hour and 16 minutes. Three-time defending champion David Ferrer was equally impressive in his match against Wayne Odesnik, coasting to an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory and reach the quarter-finals.
The air in Acapulco is pregnant with expectation this year, as fans wait eagerly to witness the potential final clash between these two clay court exponents over the weekend. Albierto Mexicano Telcel is an ATP World Tour 500 event that serves as the crown jewel of the South American golden swing, which runs through Chile, Brazil and Argentina before ending with the event in Mexico.
Ferrer, who won in Buenos Aires, got off to a blistering start holding at love but failed to convert any of the three break opportunities in the second game. The emboldened Odesnik attacked immediately to earn three chances for himself to break Ferrer, but the Spaniard was up to the task in staving off the American. Eventually, the world No. 4 asserted his authority when he broke serve in the sixth game at the seventh break point opportunity of the set to go up 4-2. Having taken control, the Spaniard sealed the set in a hurry by breaking again in the eighth game.
Ferrer won a fifth straight game to kick off the second set before breaking again to take a 2-0 lead. Odesnik retaliated to break back immediately, but that was to be his final imprint on the contest. It was a stretch in which Ferrer won 10 of 11 games to send Odesnik tumbling to defeat. Ferrer served five aces and saved 6 of the 7 break points faced in the one-sided contest. The Spaniard’s next opponent is Paolo Lorenzi, who got the better of Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the next round.
91st ranked Alund stretched Nadal to three sets in Sao Paolo, but discovered a rather different version of the Spaniard in Acapulco. The world No. 5 struck a searing forehand down the line winner to earn break point before taking the first game with a crisp backhand volley winner. Alund complicated his situation when he gifted a double fault in the third game, as Nadal raced to a 3-0 lead in quick time. The fifth game went to deuce four times, but Alund lacked the muscle to prevent yet another break. Nadal had the bagel in the bag in just 28 minutes.
The second set was a much closer affair, but the Argentine had surrendered an early break. He pleased the eye with some neatly struck forehand winners as he battled gamely to save three break points in the very first game of the second set. Nadal though, remained unfazed to extract his pound of flesh in the third game and go up 2-1 with the break. And for all his effort from there, the Argentine just did not have the weapons needed to threaten the Spaniard. Nadal, the 2005 winner in Acapulco, reached the quarter-finals when Alund put too much behind a backhand in the tenth game. Nadal lost just 12 points on his serve and saved all three break points faced in his most emphatic display since his return to competitive tennis.
Nadal’s next opponent is again an Argentine – Leonardo Mayer had an easy 6-2, 6-2 victory over the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov to reach the quarters. While the Spaniard could get through that match easily, he could face a stiffer test in the semis where he is likely to run into Nicholas Almagro. The third seeded Spaniard came through the toughest test on the day to oust Tommy Robredo 6-4, 7-6(4) in an encounter that lasted nearly two hours. Almagro will take on Horacio Zeballos – the man who took down Nadal three weeks ago in Chile – in the quarters. The other quarter-final will be contested between Santiago Giraldo and Fabio Fognini.