World no. 2 Rafael Nadal is through to his 122nd ATP final, beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 43 minutes for the 13th victory over the Bulgarian in 14 encounters. Nadal is now 19-2 in Acapulco, seeking the third title on Saturday against Taylor Fritz and the first since the event switched to hard courts in 2014 when Dimitrov went all the way.
In his sixth straight victory over Grigor, Rafa lost serve twice and delivering five breaks to erase that fact and control the scoreboard, hitting 15 winners and 12 unforced errors that carried him home on a challenging night in Acapulco, as humidity prevented them from producing the best tennis.
Nadal held with a service winner in the opening game before getting broken at love after a double fault in game three that pushed the Bulgarian in front. The Spaniard broke back in the very next game following a forehand error from Dimitrov, holding with a backhand down the line winner in game five and stealing Grigor’s serve in game six despite two game points for the 2014 winner.
Serving at 4-2, Nadal fended off two break chances, staying in front and serving for the set when Dimitrov held at love to reduce the deficit to 5-3. The Spaniard sealed the opener with a comfortable hold in game nine, finishing the job in just under 50 minutes and hoping for more of the same in set number two.
There, Grigor broke in the second set with a forehand winner that sent him 2-0 up, losing ground after that to drop the last six games and propel Nadal through. Raising his level and reducing the number of errors, Rafa delivered breaks in games three, five and seven, moving 5-2 in front with a break at love and sealing the deal with a forehand crosscourt winner in the next game to advance into the title match.