Acapulco (Mexico), Mar 3: In a stunning defeat in the Mexico Open, Novak Djokovic suffered an exit in the Quarter-finals at the hands of Australian Nick Kyrgios firing 25 aces and saving a pair of set points. Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, booked his semi-final spot by battling past Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets.
The world No. 2 Djokovic crashed out of the ATP Tour event Thursday night after a 7-6 (11/9), 7-5 upset loss to sixth-seeded Kyrgios in the first ever ATP Tour meeting between the two. The 21-year-old Kyrgios overpowered the Serbian tennis champion with 25 aces, winning 81 percent of his first-serve points.
Djokovic, who was back in action this week for the first time since his shock second-round exit at the Australian Open in January, looked rusty in the one hour, 47-minute quarter-final match.
Djokovic had fallen in the Aussie Open to Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin and hadn’t played a single game until this week. He managed only one win in this tour, against Slovakia's Martin Klizan, before losing to Kyrgios.
He will now meet big-serving American Sam Querrey for a place in the final.
Returning from a short break after Australian Open in January, Rafael Nadal bounced back in both the sets to defeat Japanese Nishioka 7-6 (7/2), 6-3. A two-time winner in Acapulco, Nadal hammered five aces and won 81 percent of his first-serve points in the battle between the two lefthanders.
"He (Nishioka) is so quick," 30-year-old Nadal said, "I felt I needed to choose the right shots to do the damage. I was trying to hit the winner too early sometimes and too late other times, so it was tough to get my rhythm."
He clinched Thursday's victory in the ninth game of the second set with an overhead smash at the net after Nishioka's return landed well short.
Nadal, who is World No. 6 at the moment, kept his Acapulco unbeaten streak alive, having won 13 straight matches, and moved to 26-0 in sets in the ATP Tour event. He advances to a semi-final meeting with Croatia’s Marin Čilić.
Nadal has won three of the four prior meetings with the Croatian. "I am excited about playing this match," Nadal said. "He is one of the best players in the world."
In a walk-over, the third-seeded Marin Čilić reached the semi-finals without hitting a ball as American Steve Johnson withdrew from the match. He pulled out of his scheduled quarter-final on the hardcourts due to a right ankle injury he had sustained in his victory over his fellow countrymen, Ernesto Escobedo, on Wednesday.
The semifinals will take place at 5:30 AM IST on March 4.