Nick Kyrgios has set up a second-round blockbuster with world No 1 Daniil Medvedev as Australia’s tennis ace continued his promising US Open preparations in Montreal. Fresh from his historic singles-doubles title double in Washington on Sunday, the 27-year-old Kyrgios defeated Argentine Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4 to extend his hard-court winning streak to seven matches.
However, after going 64 games unbroken in the American capital, Kyrgios finally had his sequence stopped at 67 when he dropped serve in the opening set on Wednesday. Kyrgios held a comfortable 5-1 lead in the opening set, but Baez fought back to 4-5 before dropping the set. The Aussie managed to staunch the bleeding and was ruthless with his groundstrokes in the second set as he regained control and sealed victory after 85 exhilarating minutes.
Kyrgios has now won 14 of his last 15 matches and risen to No 37 in the ATP rankings. The win also elevated him into a seeding position for Flushing Meadows, the year’s final grand slam starting in New York on August 29. But the Wimbledon runner-up admitted he was a little jaded after claiming his first title in three years last week.
“Physically I feel fine. Mentally I’m just so tired,” Kyrgios said. “It’s never easy. I haven’t had much sleep the last couple of nights. But I’m trying to put that behind me. I’m in Montreal and I haven’t really played great tennis in Montreal in the past so I wanted to come out here today and get that match-up. Playing Medvedev next is a great test. It will be great fun.”
After being banned from Wimbledon, the Russian-born Medvedev has hit the ground running back on hard courts, winning the title last week in Los Cabos, Mexico without losing a set. He is still ranked No 1 on the ATP tour and will this month defend the 2021 US Open crown he won by defeating Novak Djokovic to deny the Serbian great a Grand Slam. His 2022 Australian Open defeat in five sets by Rafael Nadal, after taking a two-set lead was the second longest final ever played at five hours and 24 minutes.
“Medvedev is a hell of a player. He’s so unorthodox, he’s a great competitor and he’s just an animal and I’d like to see where I’m at,” Kyrgios said. “He’ll probably be feeling a little bit fatigued as well. I know I definitely am but I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Earlier, Australian Alex de Minaur moved comfortably in to the second round of the Masters 1000 event. The pocket rocket Australian No 1 needed only five points and three minutes to mop up a 7-5 7-6 (7-4) win after rain had forced the suspension of play on Monday with the second-set tiebreak locked up at 3-3.
After claiming his sixth career title last month in Atlanta, de Minaur’s victory was his eighth from his past 10 hard-court matches. He is now ranked No 21 in the world. The 2020 US Open quarter-finalist next plays Grigor Dimitrov after the Bulgarian beat Canadian wildcard Alexis Galarneau 6-4 7-5 in his opener.