Nick at Night: Kyrgios Cruises into Round 2

August 3, 2022 12:37 AM

By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)

Competing in singles for the first time since his run to the Wimbledon last finals month, Nick Kyrgios seemingly picked up where he left off. The 2019 Citi Open champion was never broken and fired 12 aces as he held off American Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2 in an efficient 59 minutes.

nick4“Today I actually came out pretty nervous,” said Kyrgios, who has reached the semifinals or better in four of his last five tournaments.

“Obviously had won this tournament before, but I wanted to make sure I had a really good performance this year. I have been training really hard. I just feel like I'm in such a better place with my tennis. Mentally as well. I wanted to show that to the fans.”

Perhaps trying to recreate some of those 2019 vibes, Kyrgios brought back a staple from that run as he asked a fan sitting in the front row where he should place his serve on match point. It took two attempts, but as instructed, Kyrgios fired an unreturnable second serve down the tee to secure the win and improve to 9-0 in first-round matches this year.

“I think it's just a cool experience for someone that's paid money to come watch you play and potentially to go home with that memory,” he said of the crowd involvement on match point.

“If it's a young kid or an older lady like today, I think that's something that's pretty cool.”

Before a sold out crowd on Stadium Court, Kyrgios ushered in the evening session with a rather workmanlike performance. The Aussie won 82% of his first-service points, while firing 26 winners to just eight unforced errors. It was clinical from Kyrgios, who said it was important for him to get a positive result with memories still fresh from a premature exit last year in DC.

nick1“I lost first round last year, and I was just going through a lot,” Kyrgios acknowledged. “I just really wanted to make sure I came out and gave them a good show, just to redeem myself. Just looking around the crowd, such an amazing tournament.”

Kyrgios also said he feels especially driven with the hardcourt season coming on the heels of his maiden Grand Slam final.

“To have that opportunity and come up short wasn't easy for me to stomach,” he said. “There are so many things I would have done differently now that I have digested that match, but I'm doing all the right things to put myself in that position again. I think we all know that it's possible now. I don't think [my team] thought it was possible to contend for Grand Slams, but now it's a genuine thing.”

Although this was Kyrgios’ first singles competition since Wimbledon, he is coming off a doubles title last week in Atlanta. He and partner Jack Sock also won their opening match in the doubles draw here in DC on Monday night.     

A busy week for Kyrgios continues Wednesday as he’ll again be among the headliners on Stadium when he faces American and No.14-seed Tommy Paul in a second-round matchup under the lights.

 

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