PHOTOS/VIDEO: 2020 Acapulco R2 Rafael Nadal vs. Miomir Kecmanovic
2020 Acapulco R2 Rafael Nadal bt. Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5
Next - Soonwoo Kwon
(AFP): World number two stepped up his bid for a third ATP Mexico Open title with an impressive display of serving and shot-making to beat Serbian youngster Miomir Kecmanovic on Wednesday.
The Spaniard hit 20 winners as he kept his hopes alive of regaining the top ranking with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over the 20-year-old Kecmanovic to reach the quarter-finals at the Acapulco hardcourt tournament.
"He's a very dangerous player. Young, with a lot of power. I'm very pleased with the victory," Nadal said.
"I played a very good first set and that's important for me. That gives me confidence."
Next up for Nadal is South Korea's Kwon Soon-woo, who reached his fourth quarter-final of the month with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 upset against eighth-seeded Dusan Lajovic.
Kwon also reached the last eight in Pune, New York and Delray Beach.
Nadal improved to 17-2 overall at this event. He needs to take the Acapulco title and have Novak Djokovic lose his semi-final match at this week's Dubai Tennis Championships to regain top spot.
Nadal roared to a 5-0 lead in the first set thanks to some superb serving and clutch winners.
In the second set, Nadal broke the Serb for a 5-3 lead but Kecmanovic broke back in the next game and held serve to level the set at 5-5.
Nadal, who made 17 unforced errors, clinched the match on the first match point when Kecmanovic blasted a forehand return well wide.
The other quarter-finals feature third seeded Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Taylor Fritz, Kyle Edmund and fifth seed John Isner against qualifier Tommy Paul.