Nick Kyrgios defeated Andreas Seppi in straight sets to book his place in a last-16 clash with Rafael Nadal at ATP Tour event in Acapulco.
Australia’s Kyrgios served 13 aces and overcame a second-set fightback by the Italian to dispatch Seppi 6-3 7-5 in one hour and 13 minutes.
The world No.72 converted four of his five break-point opportunities against the veteran and appeared to move freely despite the knee issues that he has battled recently.
Nadal eased past German Mischa Zverev 6-3 6-3 later on Tuesday to set up a blockbuster second-round showdown with Kyrgios.
Sealed in STYLE!
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 27, 2019
“Happy for the victory of course, have been a good start for me; never easy against Mischa, and especially after a while without competing,” said Nadal, who revealed he had not been practising much in the past few days due to a hand problem.
“Tough one (against Kyrgios) … there’s a lot of great players so these kinds of matches can happen in the very early stages.
“I know Nick is one of the best talent players on tour, so will be a big challenge for me. I hope to be ready for it.”
The Spanish world No.2, playing in his first tournament since his loss in the Australian Open final last month, leads Kyrgios 3-2 in their previous meetings.
They have not met since the Beijing final of 2017, which Nadal won 6-2 6-1.
Kyrgios was the second Australian to advance past round one in the Mexican seaport city – after eighth-seeded John Millman’s win on Monday – and fifth-seeded Alex de Minaur became the third, after the 20-year-old downed Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 7-6(5) 7-6(2).
De Minaur, last year’s ATP newcomer of the year in a season in which he improved his ranking from 208th to 31st, proved too solid in the crucial moments.
Another Australian, teenager Alexei Popyrin, found the step up in class a bit too much in an opening-round loss to Alexander Zverev.
The German second seed did not face a break point in a routine 6-3 6-3 win over Popyrin, who came through qualifying to reach the main draw.
Second seed Zverev and De Minaur are on course for a quarterfinal showdown; their second-round opponents are yet to be determined.
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