By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
Soon after Nick Kyrgios (right) arrived in Washington last week, the Wimbledon runner-up said that he was hardly satisfied with his maiden trip to a Grand Slam final.
Instead, he spoke about how driven and motivated it left him to build on that success.
On Sunday in Rock Creek Park, Kyrgios delivered, beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-3 to capture his second career Citi Open title.
“I just came out with great energy,” Kyrgios said during his post-match on-court interview. “I knew that I had experience on my side. I love this court, I’ve played so many good matches here. I’m just really happy with myself.”
Before a sellout crowd on Stadium Court, Kyrgios broke Nishioka in the opening game of the match and was seemingly in control from there. Kyrgios fired 12 aces and won 88 percent of his first-serve points. In the first set, Kyrgios saved the only break point he faced in the final.
Kyrgios ultimately went the entire tournament without losing any of his 64 service games.
“I think he has the best service [game] on Tour, No. 1.” Nishioka said. “It’s most tough to break his service game on Tour.”
Competing in singles for the first time since his run at Wimbledon, Kyrgios suggested this week that his younger self would have experienced an inevitable letdown. This version of Kyrgios, 27, arrived in DC focused and with a workmanlike approach. He was set on winning and didn’t deviate.
“I'm just really happy to continue the form after Wimbledon,” he said. “I think you have a small window after a Grand Slam that people kind of fear you before they step out on the court. I feel like I made the most of it this week. I'm really happy with my performance.”
With the exception of the odd exchange with a chair umpire, Kyrgios let his game do the talking in DC. In the process, he has sent a message to the rest of the Tour.
“I felt like I was one of the best players in the world this year by far,” said Kyrgios, who has reached the semifinals or better in five his last seven events.
“I feel like I have really kind of reinvented myself this year.”
Kyrgios is now a two-time Citi Open singles champ, having also won the event in 2019. He becomes the tenth male champion to have multiple DC titles,
In capturing a second Citi Open crown, Kyrgios became the 10th male champion to win multiple DC singles titles. Kyrgios joins such legends as Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.
Kyrgios also became the first champion in the tournament’s rich 53-year history to sweep the men's singles and doubles title in the same week.
Fulfilling his doubles commitment with American Jack Sock, the frequent partners held off Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-5, 6-4 to win their second title as a tandem (Lyon, 2018).
“It was a really, really good week,” said Kyrgios, who will rise to No.37 in the ATP World rankings, his highest ranking since February 2020.
“It was hard-fought. Had some incredibly tough matches. Every practice was really good. I tried to be as professional as I could. I'm just happy to be sitting here, making history along the way.”