Rafael Nadal Brings Starpower to ATP Acapulco 500 in Mexico
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP 500 level hard court tournament in Acapulco has a solid field lead by Rafael Nadal. It’s the tournament of the week for fans of the ATP. Here is your full preview with predictions.
Rafael Nadal is the main attraction and will begin against his good friend Feliciano Lopez. Thanasi Kokkinakis or Alexander Bublik will follow. He should face New York finalist Sam Querrey in the quarters. Querrey needs to defeat Matt Ebden and either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Jared Donaldson in round 2. With everyone but Querrey struggling, he should get that far before falling to Nadal.
Jack Sock badly needs to find form. He opens with Ernesto Escobedo, then Hyeon Chung or Donald Young in round 2. I’ll back Chung to upset Sock given he’s been the better player in 2018. Kevin Anderson plays great on this surface. Anderson should defeat Radu Albot and Adrian Mannarino/Ricardas Berankis. I’ll back Anderson over Chung in the quarters.
Alexander Zverev opens with Steve Johnson in an interesting opening round match. Johnson made semis in Delray and could upset Zverev but I’ll back Zverev to beat Johnson and his countryman Peter Gojowczyk to reach the quarters. Gojowczyk faces local player Lucas Gomez in round 1, he’s coming off a run to the finals in Delray. Two struggling American’s, John Isner and Ryan Harrison will face off. Fernando Verdasco lost to Diego Schwartzman in the Rio final. On hard courts I’ll give Verdasco the edge to get revenge, and upset a struggling Isner to reach the quarters. Zverev over Verdasco is my pick at that stage.
The third section of the draw is star packed. Juan Martin Del Potro should defeat Mischa Zverev to setup a big second round match against either Andrey Rublev or David Ferrer. Rublev is playing well enough that I’ll back him to get past Ferrer and upset Del Potro to reach the quarters. Kei Nishikori and Denis Shapovalov will face off in a massive round 1 matchup. Nishikori should be fresher than the Delray semifinalist Shapovalov. I’ll go with Dominic Thiem to defeat Cam Norrie, then Nishikori and Rublev to reach the semifinals.
Nadal d. Anderson
Thiem d. Zverev
I’m not entirely confident picking Nadal but he’s the most accomplished player in the field. Presuming fitness he should win the title. Thiem isn’t the favorite to reach the final but I’ll back him in a tough field.
Nadal d. Thiem