(Reuters) – Rafael Nadal captured his third Mexican Open title on Saturday, continuing his good form with a 6-3 6-2 triumph in the final over Taylor Fritz.
Nadal survived 10 aces from Fritz and broke his service three times to outperform the 22-year-old American.
“I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end,” Nadal told reporters.
“Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing. I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time.”
The Spanish world No. 2, who first won the title in 2005 and took it again in 2013, stormed through the draw without dropping a set and improved to 20-2 in the event overall.
Fritz had reached the final by rallying from a set and 2-4 behind against John Isner but he could mount no such comeback against Nadal.
Fritz, playing his first final at an ATP 500 event, became the only American besides Sam Querrey in 2017 to reach the Acapulco final.
“He’s one of the best players to ever play the game and he showed me why that is tonight,” Fritz said of Nadal.
Britain’s seventh seed Heather Watson needed 10 championship points to overcome Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-7(8) 6-1 in the women’s final.
Watson saw her first five championship points slip away in the second-set tiebreak before regaining her composure to lose just one game in the final set.
Victory ensured Watson’s first WTA title since she won the Monterrey Open in 2016, and her fourth overall, and she will re-enter the top 50 of the WTA rankings on Monday.
“It’s been a few years, so I’m just really, really happy I came through that match,” said Watson.
It was a breakthrough week for the 17-year-old Fernandez, who reached her first WTA quarter-final, semi-final, and final after starting as a qualifier.
“I think it’s her mental toughness that really stands out,” Watson said. “I think she’s going to have a great career ahead of her and rise up the rankings very quickly if she keeps playing like this.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles and Hardik Vyas in Bangalore; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Clare Fallon)