Kyrgios had a day of double-play yesterday as rain halted the schedule, finishing his match against American Nicolas Opelka in the early session and then taking on American Marcos Tiafoe in the evening.
A relaxed Kyrgios said of his match with Tiafoe that the Aussie said the pair had been looking forward to it for more than five years as they had never played each other before.
Both Kyrgios and Tiafoe are showmen, and when they are in the mood, they are entertaining to watch. The Washington Open quarterfinal match did exactly what was expected.
Kyrgios led 5-2 in the tiebreak, but Tiafoe won five points in a row to almost snatch the first set from the Australian. Kyrgios, however, did not have too many emotional swings and remained focused on his game.
At 5:6 and 30:30 of the second set, Tiafoe scored a spectacular point in a multi-beat bout, and the atmosphere was lit up as Tiafoe continued to high-five and fist pump the crowd. The opponent’s home-court advantage that Kyrgios talked about before the match seemed to be helping Tiafoe on his way to victory.
The American did come very close to reaching the semi-finals, having five match points in the second-set tiebreak at 6:5, 8:7, 10:9, 11:10 and 12:11.
But Kyrgios defused them all, especially on the fifth match point, when he saved himself with a very bold and delicate lob. That fearless personality was on display as Kyrgios won the tiebreak 14:12 to level the score.
After such a thrilling tiebreak, Kyrgios completely turned the match around. He QUICKLY GOT A DOUBLE BREAK IN THE deciding SET AND FINISHED the 2 1/2-HOUR BATTLE 6-2.
No matter from the plot trend, or technical statistics, this is a very high quality game to watch. Tiafoe served 29 winners while making just 14 unforced errors; kyrgios did better, making 20 unforced errors but hitting 55 winners, including a whopping 35 ACES.
After reaching the final four of the ATP500 in Washington, Kyrgios has reached at least five semifinals in the last six tournaments. So far, no winner has scored in these events, but Kyrgios has been playing consistently this summer.
The five tournaments are the semifinals in Houston, Stuttgart and Halle, the final at Wimbledon and, currently, the ATP500 in Washington. The only time he failed to do so was in Mallorca before Wimbledon, when Nick Kyrgios withdrew from his second-round match against Andre Agut because of an abdominal injury.
Kyrgios is gifted, but has always been a bit cynical, or psychologically immature. People with this personality can sometimes be a bit of a late bloomer, but Kyrgios is only 27, so maybe he still has time to find a better version of himself.
Before the ATP250 in Houston, kyrgios was ranked 94 in the world and 63 before coming to Washington. After the Australian’s 2-0 win over Immel in the semi-finals this morning, growers could break into the top 40 if he wins in Washington.