ACAPULCO (Mexico) • Two-time champion Rafael Nadal raced past third-seeded Marin Cilic 6-1, 6-2 to reach the ATP Mexican Open final, where his perfect Acapulco record will be put to the test by American Sam Querrey.
Querrey ousted Nick Kyrgios 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 to bring the sixth-seeded Australian's giant-killing run to a halt, a day after Kyrgios stunned world No. 2 Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
Second-seeded Nadal, playing his first tournament since falling to Roger Federer in January's epic five-set Australian Open final, has won all 14 matches he has played in Acapulco, where he lifted the trophy in 2005 and 2013.
"I have to be playing well to win like this against a player like Marin, so I'm pleased with the performance," said Nadal, who withdrew from last month's Rotterdam tournament to rest after Melbourne.
"I'm happy with my focus in important moments, saving break points with good shots. I enjoyed the atmosphere here, so it's great for me to be in the final."
Querrey and Kyrgios were neck and neck in the third set when the American produced the first break of the set in the final game to seize the victory.
The win continued a strong week for Querrey, who beat Belgian David Goffin and fourth-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem en route to the semi-finals.
"Sam is playing great, beating Goffin and Thiem. He'll be coming into the match with a lot of confidence," said Nadal, who has won all four of his prior meetings with Querrey.
Nadal has not fared well in recent years on hard courts. His last championship on the surface came in Doha in January 2014, but he seems to be on top of his game this week, having not lost a set.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
ATP MEXICAN OPEN
Final: StarHub Ch201, 11am