Nadal reached round two (Picture: AP)Rafael Nadal made a winning return to action in Acapulco as he defeated Germany’s Mischa Zverev, and was rewarded with an enticing second-round clash with Nick Kyrgios.
The Spaniard had not played competitively since being humbled by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open but he eased to a 6-3 6-3 win over the 31-year-old to advance to round two of the Mexican Open.
There he will face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios – currently ranked at world No. 72 – who remains a dangerous opponent despite his recent rankings slide.
Kyrgios played some good tennis as he comfortably dispatched Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-3 7-5 and Nadal is aware just how ‘tough’ it will be to defeat the 23-year-old.
‘Tough one,’ the 32-year-old said.
Kyrgios is up next for Nadal (Picture: EPA/AAP)‘This tournament is hard, a lot of great players, these kind of matches can happen in the very early stages.
‘It will be a tough one, I know Nick is one of the best talented players on tour so it will be a big challenge for me.
‘I hope to be ready for it.’
Nadal has won three of his five meetings with the Aussie but they have split their two previous meetings on a hardcourt.
Acapulco round two matches
Nadal vs KyrgiosWawrinka vs JohnsonIsner vs QuerreyGojowczyk vs MillmanTiafoe vs McDonaldNorrie vs SchwartzmanDe Minaur vs LopezFerrer vs Zverev
World No. 3 Alexander Zverev – younger brother of Mischa – made no mistake in booking his spot in round two, beating Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-3 6-3.
He will face Spanish veteran David Ferrer next after the 36-year-old beat America’s Tennys Sandgren in two tiebreak sets.
British No. 2 Cameron Norrie also progressed, beating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2 2-6 6-2 to set up a tie with Argentine fourth seed Diego Schwartzman.