Nadal’s 15-year feat breaks record books

Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal has made history by capturing his third Acapulco title, winning the final over Taylor Fritz on Saturday.

In their first ever encounter, Nadal survived 10 aces from Fritz and broke the American’s service three times in a comprehensive win over the 22-year-old. It’s his first title of the 2020 season and the 85th of his stellar career.

The 33-year-old has now won a title in 17 consecutive years — he remains the only tennis player to rank as the world’s No. 1 in three separate decades.

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Although he made eight unforced errors and managed just one ace, Nadal won the match in straight sets 6-3 6-2.

“I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end,” Nadal said.

“Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing. I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time.

“The worst part about this night is having to leave Acapulco tomorrow.”

Rafael Nadal celebrates his historic victorySource:Getty Images

Nadal won the final eight points to take the first set. He seized control by breaking Fritz’s serve in the ninth game to go up 5-4. He then served for the set, winning four straight points.

On set point he hammered a serve which Fritz barely got back. That set up an overhead smash for Nadal which he put away nicely.

Nadal broke Fritz twice in the second set, including the fifth game to go up 3-2. He broke Fritz again to take a 5-4 lead and then served out the match.

World No. 2 Nadal also captured the Mexican Open title in 2005 and 2013. He stormed through the draw without dropping a set and improved his overall record in the event to 19-2.

Nadal is now both the youngest and oldest ever Acapulco champion.

Fritz reached the final by rallying from a set behind and 2-4 deficit to John Isner but he could mount no such comeback against Nadal.

Fritz is the only American besides Sam Querrey in 2017 to reach the final in Acapulco. It was his first final at an ATP 500 event.

“He’s one of the best players to ever play the game and he showed me why that is tonight,” Fritz said.

Rafael Nadal remains in the No. 2 spot of the ATP rankings despite the Mexican Open title winSource:Getty Images

After winning the Australian Open in February, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic leapfrogged Nadal to No. 1 on the ATP rankings.

Djokovic extended his win streak to 21 matches after trumping Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and lifting the Dubai Championship. If the Serbian failed to reach the final in Dubai, Nadal would have regained World No. 1 status.

Australians Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, Alex Bolt and John Millman also competed at Acapulco, none of them progressing through to the second round.

With wires

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