Taylor Fritz blasted his way to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Australian Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday and a place in the Cincinnati Open third round. In a clash of big servers, it was the American No 1 who came out on top, sending down 16 aces against a misfiring Kyrgios who hit just seven and offset most of those with six double faults.
The 11th-seeded Fritz needed just 51 minutes to condemn Australian Kyrgios to his second defeat since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. Such was Fritz’s domination on serve that Kyrgios could not muster a single break opportunity the entire match while the 24-year-old American converted three of his seven chances.
Some of the crowd were not impressed with Kyrgios’s efforts and there was a smattering of boos at the end of the one-sided affair.
“He doesn’t look strong enough to do it week in, week out,” former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski noted on Amazon Prime. “You can hear the boos around the stadium. They didn’t feel like he’d given his best effort out there. But I think you’ve got to give him some slack … he’s given it a go.”
Kyrgios, who had been on a roll with 16 wins in his previous 18 matches stretching back to the start of his famous Wimbledon run, looked to be distracted from the start, muttering about it “being only a matter of time before it all unravels”.
Fritz will next meet Russian sixth seed Andrey Rublev who ground out a 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-2 win over Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
“It feels great to have my game come together today,” said Fritz. “That’s the kind of match I really needed to give me a lot of confidence going into the next match, going to the US Open, a lot of things are clicking for sure.”
Australian No 1 Alex de Minaur was also tamed in a 6-3, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Just as Kyrgios had too much firepower for him the previous week in Montreal, the Sydneysider, who so often finds the very best in the business a step too far for him, was bullied by the young Canadian.
It was a dispiriting experience for world No 20 de Minaur, who was not found wanting in effort as he tried to launch a fight back from 4-0 down in the second set.
Auger-Aliassime decorated his emphatic win with 22 winners. The 22-year-old’s power earned him four breaks while de Minaur broke just the once when all was nearly lost at 4-1 down in the second stanza, a brilliant effort capped by a rocketing forehand.
But his resistance didn’t last long as Auger-Aliassime quickly restored his supremacy, breaking for a 5-2 lead before wrapping up proceedings on his own delivery in just 78 minutes.