ATP Acapulco Day 3 Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs Stefan Kozlov

Rafael Nadal in action at the ATP Acapulco Open.
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There should be plenty of entertaining action on day three at the ATP Acapulco Open with seven intriguing second-round matches on the schedule in Mexico. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Daniil Medvedev vs Pablo Andujar. But who will book their place in the quarterfinals?

ATP Acapulco Day 3 Predictions

Cameron Norrie vs John Isner

Head-to-head: Isner 2-1 Norrie

After a below-par start to the year, Cameron Norrie has found some form of late. He put together an excellent week at the ATP Delray Beach Open to win the title, beating the big-serving Reilly Opelka 7-6 7-6 in the final and opened his Acapulco campaign with an assured 7-6 6-2 win over Germany’s Daniel Altmaier. However, John Isner is an opponent who has given him trouble in the past, winning two of their previous three meetings, albeit narrowly.

The American has found a measure of form himself. After crashing out in the first round at the Australian Open, he bounced back to reach the semifinals in Delray Beach, losing to Opelka, before battling past fellow veteran Fernando Verdasco in the first round in Acapulco. Norrie, however, has been playing the better tennis of the two men and showed the improvements he has made to his return game in beating Opelka in Delray Beach. Expect a similar demonstration of his quality here.

Prediction: Norrie in 2
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Dusan Lajovic vs Tommy Paul

Head-to-head: Paul 1-0 Lajovic

Tommy Paul enjoyed a banner year in 2021, highlighted by winning his first title at the ATP Stockholm Open where he beat Denis Shapovalov in the final. The American’s talent has never been in question, but the 24-year-old had struggled for consistency earlier in his career, but now looks rather more comfortable at tour-level. He has not made a spectacular start to 2022, but did reach the quarterfinals in Adelaide and the last four at the ATP Delray Beach Open.

He did benefit from Matteo Berrettini’s retirement in the first round, but Paul looks well-placed to capitalise. Dusan Lajovic is a fine player when he is on song, with few striking the ball more cleanly than the elegant Serbian, and he was in good touch in the first round, beating Sebastian Korda in three. Paul, however, thrashed him in their only previous meeting in similar conditions in Indian Wells last season, with the American’s power, particularly off the forehand side, really troubling Lajovic.

Prediction: Paul in 2
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Yoshihito Nishioka vs Taylor Fritz

Head-to-head: Nishioka 2-0 Fritz

Taylor Fritz has all of the tools to succeed at the highest level, but the American has not quite managed a ‘breakthrough’ win yet. He came close at the Australian Open, battling into the fourth round where he held a 2-1 lead over Stefanos Tsitsipas, only for the Greek to battle back to win in five. He followed that with a quarterfinal showing at the inaugural ATP Dallas Open, where he was top seed, before dismissing Adrian Mannarino in the first round in Acapulco.

He may not find things quite so straightforward up against Yoshihito Nishioka though. The Japanese is enjoying a fine week at the ATP Acapulco Open, having come through the qualifying before beating Feliciano Lopez in the first round, 2-6 6-0 6-4. He also beat Fritz in both of their previous meetings. That said, they have not played since 2019 and the American has improved considerably since then. He has that much more power from the baseline than Nishioka and that should prove the difference.

Prediction: Fritz in 3
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Rafael Nadal vs Stefan Kozlov

Head-to-head: first meeting

Lucky loser Stefan Kozlov showed great heart to battle past Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, overcoming a debilitating episode of cramps to beat the Bulgarian in a hard-fought three-setter. His reward is a shot at the great Rafael Nadal. This is their first meeting, but there should be few surprises in store for either man after they trained together earlier in the week. In truth, however, even if Nadal was to be surprised by Kozlov, one suspects it would not take him long to figure the problem out.

The Spaniard has made an excellent start to the season, rallying from two sets down to beat Medvedev in the final at the Australian Open to win his 21st Grand Slam, and he made lightwork of Denis Kudla in the first round in Acapulco, dropping just five games. Will Kozlov be any more competitive? It looks unlikely. He clearly struggled with the conditions in Acapulco against Dimitrov and Nadal will test his physical capabilities rather more than the Bulgarian did. Expect a comfortable Nadal win.

Prediction: Nadal in 2

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