Rafael Nadal backs up record-breaking grand slam with best ever start to a season

Just a month on from his Australian Open triumph, Rafael Nadal has recorded his 12th straight win, which marks his best ever start to a season.

Nadal started the 2022 campaign by winning an ATP title in Melbourne before going on to claim his record-breaking 21st grand slam at the Australian Open. 

The wins have since kept on coming for the Spaniard who beat Stefan Kozlov 6-0 6-4 in the last 16 stage of the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

The victory was his 12th win of the season which surpassed his run in 2014. On that occasion, he managed 11 consecutive victories before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final.

The Spaniard, who will next face American Tommy Paul in the Mexican Open quarter-final, told atptour.com: "Always it's important to win as quick as possible. But the most important thing is to win. Tonight has been straight sets, that's great news, and I'll try to be ready for tomorrow again against a tough opponent."

Nadal is on course for a semi-final rematch with Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev, who could overtake Novak Djokovic as world number one next week and eased to a 6-1 6-2 victory over Pablo Andujar.

Rafael Nadal (R) of Spain greets his opponent after winning the men's singles round of 16 match against Stefan Kozlov

Stefanos Tsitsipas was the speediest winner of the day, needing just 47 minutes to defeat JJ Wolf 6-1 6-0.

British number one Cameron Norrie, meanwhile, extended his winning run to six matches following his title in Delray Beach last week by seeing off John Isner 6-7 (2) 6-3 6-4.

Norrie will next meet German lucky loser Peter Gojowczyk, who was the beneficiary of Alexander Zverev's expulsion from the tournament for aggressively hitting an umpire's chair with his racket following a doubles defeat on Tuesday.

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