Nick Kyrgios advances in Cincinnati as Kokkinakis falls in 3-hour thriller
Nick Kyrgios bounced back from his quarter-final loss in Montreal to advance to the second round of the Cincinnati Masters, scoring a 7-5 6-4 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match of the tournament.
The victory was a reminder of his recent form, although his temper flared when his serve was broken in the second set, which led to the world No. 26 continuing his usual mumbles in his box as he hit a ball in the crowd, which resulted in a violation of the code.
Kyrgios was booed after the incident but the disturbance had no impact on the final result as the Wimbledon runner-up fought back to win the set and the match.
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“It was a tricky game. The conditions here are very different from those in Montreal. It’s livelier and harder to keep the ball,” Kyrgios said.
“I just played the big points well mentally. He’s a hell of a tricky player. He’s so talented, he has so many shots at his disposal.
“So I knew I had to serve well and try to dictate as much as possible because his backhand is amazing.”
Kyrgios’ quest to make 17 of his last 19 games hangs in the balance against American Taylor Fritz in the next round.
“Fritzy is a good friend of mine,” Kyrgios said.
“He’s just a good all-around player, he has a huge serve. He likes to play on the front foot, like me. It’s going to be a lot of big serves so we’ll see how it goes.”
Fellow Australian and world number 20 Alex de Minaur also advanced in straight sets, prompting a clash with seventh-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who had a first-round bye.
Thanasi Kokkinakis was knocked out in a three-hour clash against Italian world number 12 Jannik Sinner.
Sinner came back and knocked out Kokkinakis 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in heartbreaking fashion for the Aussie. Sinner had some fantastic passing shots on his 21st birthday, coupled with some unforced errors from Kokkinakis to build momentum and drive forward.
“I love playing tennis and doing what you love on your birthday is the best thing you can do,” one sinner said.
“Today was a happy ending, so I’m very happy with that.”
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