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Defending champion De Minaur reaches Acapulco final, faces Ruud

Defending champion Alex De Minaur booked a return to the Acapulco ATP final on Friday as Britain’s Jack Draper retired while trailing in the third set of their semifinal.

The third-seeded Australian won the first set 6-3, dropped the second 6-2 and was leading 4-0 in the third when Draper, who was visibly diminished physically, called it quits.

De Minaur will face Casper Ruud, who pulled off an upset by beating second-seeded Holger Rune 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the late match.

“I think those are the types of situations which are the hardest to control as a player, because you’re stuck in two minds,” De Minaur said. “One mind is, all right, you can see your opponent hurting. So let’s just try and put the ball in the court and make him just miss.

“What you really have to do is play the same style of tennis that you were that got you to that stage. So it’s extremely hard to focus in those situations, and often these are the matches that can complicate themselves.”

Draper, who had dropped just 11 games in three matches to reach the semis, was piling on the pressure when he received treatment from the ATP trainer and tournament doctor late in the second set.

The left-hander was able to level the match, but he was hindered early in the third as De Minaur raced to a 4-0 lead, and Draper called a halt after he was broken a second time.

De Minaur said he wished Draper a “speedy recovery.”

“He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a talent and I hope it’s nothing too serious,” said De Minaur, who is coming off a runner-up finish to Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner in Rotterdam.

Later, in the other semifinals, Ruud lost the first set and then was down 3-1 in the third with Rune serving, but he managed a couple of breaks and hold his serve to take the win.

“I did not get the best start, and the third set looked really bad, I just tried to stay in there and it seemed like Holger was struggling and at the end it worked for me,” said Ruud.

The 25-year-old Norwegian will try to win his 10th career title, the first one on a ATP 500.

Rune, who is the seventh player on the ATP rankings, lost in the Acapulco semifinals for the second year in a row

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