Australian Open: Nadal’s Bitter Opponent Talks About ‘Respect’ Ahead Of Match

Australia's Nick Kyrgios (L) prepares to shake hands with Russia's Karen Khachanov after victory during their men's singles match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2020. Greg Wood / AFP
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios (L) prepares to shake hands with Russia’s Karen Khachanov after victory during their men’s singles match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2020.
Greg Wood / AFP

 

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios said he had “respect” for Rafael Nadal despite their personal differences after he set up a last-16 match with the top seed at the Australian Open on Saturday.

Kyrgios played down disagreements with the world number one — against whom he has a 2-1 record on hard courts — after some barbed exchanges between the two.

“Regardless, if we don’t like each other or whatever, I think there’s a layer of respect,” Kyrgios said after his five-set thriller with Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

“He’s one of the greatest of all time. I also read that he thinks I’m good for the sport.

“There’s a layer of respect that we both have for each other. Doesn’t necessarily mean we like each other, but we’re going to go out there and give contrasting styles and personalities.”

Kyrgios beat Khachanov 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (10/8) over 4hr 26min — the longest match of his career — to set up a last-16 meeting with the 19-time Grand Slam winner.

Last year Kyrgios won a bad-tempered match with Nadal in Mexico, hitting underarm serves and complaining about his slow play — prompting the Spaniard to complain that he “lacks respect”.

The 24-year-old later told an interviewer that Nadal was “super salty”, and he mimicked his signature serving routine when warned for slow play during his round-two win over Gilles Simon.

However, Kyrgios, who lost to Nadal in four sets in round two last year at Wimbledon, said both players were aware of each other’s qualities.

“At the end of the day, we’re two different tennis players. We go about it completely different,” he said.

“After Wimbledon, I lost, I got beaten by the better player. I shook his hand, looked him in the eye, and said, ‘Too good’.”

Nadal earlier gave a cool response when asked whether he liked Kyrgios.

“When he does stuff that in my opinion is not good, I don’t like,” said the Spaniard.

“When he plays good tennis and he shows passion for this game, he is a positive player for our tour.

“When he’s ready to play his best tennis and play with passion, is one of these guys. When he’s doing the other stuff, of course I don’t like.”

 

AFP

Australian Open: Nadal, Kyrgios Progress Despite Weather Challenge

 

Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios reached the Australian Open third round on Thursday after the weather-disrupted tournament faced a new challenge: dirty rain which left courts muddy and unplayable.

After a day of clean-up operations and delays, Australia’s Kyrgios fought his way past Frenchman Gilles Simon in four sets and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep stamped her class with a win over Britain’s Harriet Dart.

Nadal, a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 winner over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, miscued a shot that hit a ballgirl in the head, but he melted hearts when he apologised and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“I was so scared for her, honestly,” the 19-time Grand Slam winner said. “The ball was quick and straight on the head. She’s a very brave girl.”

Kyrgios, increasingly popular with home fans after his fundraising efforts for Australia’s bushfire crisis, was cruising at two sets up when he dropped the third set and with it, his composure.

But just when it looked like he would suffer one of his trademark implosions, he rallied for a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory.

“I definitely lost my way a little bit… but I decided to refocus,” Kyrgios said of his mini-meltdown in the third set. “I could have gone to a very dark place in the fourth set but I put it away.”

Kyrgios and Nadal stay on course for a fourth-round clash and the next instalment in their grudge match after the Aussie hit back at criticism from the “super salty” Spaniard last year.

Their victories followed a day of upheaval caused by the dirty rain, the latest weather problem at a tournament which has contended with bushfire smoke, heavy downpours and strong wind.

Rain mixed with a dust storm coated the Melbourne Park facilities in a fine layer of mud which took hours to clean and made many outside courts temporarily unusable.

 ‘I was freaking out’ 

As action resumed Alexander Zverev, another man who has a running feud with Kyrgios, showed signs of a return to form as he downed Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5.

The German seventh seed has been practising up to seven hours a day after a winless ATP Cup and the hard work paid off as he safely reached the third round.

“Definitely much better than the ATP Cup. Now in the third round, I’m very happy about that,” said the 22-year-old, who beat Italy’s Marco Cecchinato in round one.

However, fifth seed Dominic Thiem had a scare as he was taken to five sets by Australia’s 140th-ranked Alex Bolt before recovering his composure to win 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2.

“It was all of a sudden a really tight third set that shouldn’t happen. That’s why I was freaking out inside and also outside today,” said the two-time French Open finalist.

A nosebleed was one of Daniil Medvedev’s biggest challenges in his win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, while Gael Monfils, who injured his racquet hand playing computer games before the tournament, downed Ivo Karlovic.

In the women’s draw, Halep beat Dart 6-2, 6-4, while Belinda Bencic knocked out former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko — she was playing despite the sudden death of her father this month.

Two-time Major winner Garbine Muguruza, who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in the off-season as she searches for a return to form, dispatched home hope Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

AFP

Kyrgios Blames ‘Clicking Shoulder’ For First-Round Exit

Nick Kyrgios of Australia hits a return against Andreas Seppi of Italy during their men’s singles first round match at the Zhuhai Championships tennis tournament in Zhuhai in China’s southern Guangdong province on September 25, 2019. STR / AFP

 

Nick Kyrgios fears he could face several weeks out after struggling with what he said was a “clicking” shoulder in a limp first-round exit at the Zhuhai Championships on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Australian, who has been accused of tanking matches in the past, served underarm on one occasion and led the veteran Italian Andreas Seppi 4-1 in the first set.

But the unpredictable firebrand went down 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 in southern China after his game spectacularly fell apart.

Kyrgios, who has had numerous run-ins with tennis authorities down the years, said that he was “struggling a lot” — but he still played doubles soon after.

“I was battling with a bit of a shoulder/collar bone injury,” said the 27th-ranked Kyrgios, a colourful but controversial figure.

“At this rate I’m not thinking about playing until my shoulder’s — or I don’t even know what it is — but until my front of my shoulder feels better and I can serve,” he added, saying his right shoulder had been “clicking”.

“I mean the reason I lost today was because I couldn’t serve.

“If I could serve, it would have been a pretty routine win for me, to be honest.”

Asked if he could sit out the next few weeks or even the rest of the season, Kyrgios replied: “For sure, I mean at this rate I wouldn’t be surprised.

“I wasn’t able to even serve at a reasonable pace.

“I’m probably not going to bother playing until I can get it right again,” he added.

Kyrgios elicited a few giggles from a sparse crowd in Zhuhai with an underarm serve in the first set.

Coasting 3-1 and 40-0 up, Kyrgios served weakly into the net, before surging into a 4-1 lead.

But the Australian faded alarmingly from there and his previously dominant serve collapsed.

Kyrgios, who appears to revel as the “bad boy” of men’s tennis, repeatedly felt his shoulder and his game disintegrated as lost the first-set tie break.

The second set was a non-contest as Seppi, 35, ranked 74th in the world, strolled into round two in 65 minutes.

Kyrgios said that he still hopes to play for Australia in the Davis Cup in November.

“So until now and then I’ve got a lot of time, I can rest, recover, get my shoulder right,” he said.

Kyrgios has long divided tennis fans.

He is an undoubted talent but has a long list of misdemeanours including rowing with umpires and spectators, and throwing an on-court chair.

The Australian says he deploys underarm serves for tactical reasons, but Spanish player Rafael Nadal accused him of “lacking respect”.

AFP

Kyrgios Faces Suspension, Fined $113,000 Over Cincinnati Meltdown

Nick Kyrgios of Australia wipes his face between points while playing Karen Khachanov of Russia during the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 14, 2019 in Mason, Ohio. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

Controversial Australian star Nick Kyrgios was Thursday fined $113,000 (101,701 euros) after his explosive Cincinnati Masters meltdown which saw him smash two racquets, launch an abusive tirade at the chair umpire before appearing to spit at the official.

The ATP said the massive sanction included individual fines for ball abuse, leaving the court without permission, an audible obscenity and unsportsmanlike conduct during his second round loss to Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

Kyrgios, 24, was warned that he could also face another suspension from the sport once a full investigation has taken place.

After the world number 27 lost 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to Khachanov on Wednesday night, he called umpire Fergus Murphy a “fuckin’ tool”, refused to shake his hand while spitting in the direction of the chair.

He had earlier been handed a time violation, docked a point and was warned again after leaving the court without permission at the end of the second set after which he was seen to destroy two racquets in the corridor.

Kyrgios screamed at Murphy that he was the “worst umpire, hands down”.

The various Kyrgios infractions included four fines of $20,000 each for unsportsmanlike conduct plus another $20,000 for verbal abuse.

“In addition to the on-site fines, the ATP is looking further into what happened during and immediately after the match to see if additional action is warranted,” said an ATP statement.

“That could result in an additional fine and/or suspension.”

Kyrgios also had a run-in with Murphy at Queen’s Club in June after he accused a line judge of “match-rigging” and was given a code violation by the umpire.

At the Italian Open in Rome on the eve of Roland Garros, he was disqualified and fined for throwing a chair on to court.

He has also been at loggerheads with the world’s top two players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal this year.

He accused Djokovic of trying too hard to be liked and blasted the Serb’s post-match “cup of love” celebrations as “cringeworthy”.

After beating Nadal in Acapulco earlier this year, the Spaniard said the Australian “lacked respect”.

The pair met in a bad-tempered Wimbledon second round match in which Kyrgios admitted deliberately spearing a forehand directly at Nadal.

“Why would I apologise? I mean, the dude has got how many slams, how much money in the bank account?” said Kyrgios after his four-set defeat.

“I think he can take a ball to the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologise to him at all.”

For good measure, Kyrgios picked up a code violation for unsportsmanlike behaviour and described the umpire as a “disgrace”, claiming his handling of the Centre Court blockbuster as “pathetic” for failing to warn the Spaniard over what he claimed was his pedestrian pace of play.

In 2015, in one of his more notorious outbursts, Kyrgios was fined for making a sexually disparaging remark in Canada about the girlfriend of three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka.

The following year, he was banned for eight weeks after being accused of not trying at the Shanghai Masters.

AFP

Kyrgios Disqualified As Federer, Nadal, Djokovic Advance In Rome

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios returns the ball to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (unseen) during their ATP Masters tournament tennis match at the Foro Italico in Rome on May 14, 2019. Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 

Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios was disqualified from the Italian Open after an expletive-laden rant on Thursday as defending champion Rafael Nadal swept into the third round along with top seed Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Kyrgios grabbed the headlines when he suffered a spectacular meltdown on Court Three against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud.

The controversial 24-year-old, who had marked his presence in Rome by criticising Djokovic and Nadal in an interview on Wednesday, starting arguing with the umpire in the third set.

World number 36 Kyrgios had levelled the match at one set all but was given a game penalty early on in the third set for swearing.

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His response was to kick out at a water bottle before throwing a chair onto the court, packing his bag and then storming off court, shouting I am fucking done’’

Kyrgios was automatically disqualified with Ruud winning 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 2-1 to advance to the third round against former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

Kyrgios had already been at the centre of controversy during Wednesday’s washout when he told the NCR Tennis Podcast that Djokovic had “a sick obsession with wanting to be liked” and that the Serb’s post-match celebration was “cringeworthy”.

Nadal was described by the Australian as “super-salty”.

Meanwhile, Nadal crushed France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1, with Federer, a four-time runner-up, easing past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3, and Djokovic beating Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-3.

All three are in action again later in the day to make up time after play was washed out on Wednesday.

Nadal meets Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, with Federer up against Croatian Borna Coric, and Djokovic facing Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.

For 37-year-old Federer, returning to Italy for the first time since 2016, it was like a practice session.

“Like any other practice day when you play twice a day, you finish the first session, take a shower, eat something, relax, get ready for the next one,” said the 20-time Grand Slam winner.

“I think it gives me some good information. I believe it’s going to be similar conditions in the match this afternoon.”

Nadal said it was a “good start” as he targets a first title on clay this season before he starts the defence of his French Open crown from May 26.

“That’s important for what’s coming up,” said the eight-time Rome winner.

World number four Dominic Thiem slammed tournament organisers after he was dumped out 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 by Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

Austrian Thiem complained competitors were left hanging around during the rain-impacted day 24 hours earlier.

“I really dislike how we players get treated at this tournament because yesterday was, in my opinion, not acceptable,” said last year’s French Open runner-up.

“I’m quite pissed about it. I was tired, exhausted, today because of all these shitty things,” he added.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the sixth seed, got past American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4 and next meets Jan-Lennard Struff.

– Osaka clinches Roland Garros top seed –
In the women’s competition, world number one Naomi Osaka fought back after losing her serve early to ease past Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-3 against the 33rd-ranked Slovak who she also beat last week in Madrid.

The Japanese star hit 44 winners and 12 aces, despite 25 unforced errors.

Osaka, the US Open and Australian Open champion, reached the third round in Rome for the first time in three appearances.

She was at risk of losing her world number one ranking to Simona Halep but the Romanian was knocked out by Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova losing 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 having needed to win the tournament to regain top spot she last held in mid-January.

Halep’s defeat also guarantees Osaka’s top seed at the French Open.

Next up for the Japanese player on the clay of the Foro Italico is Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Czech second seed Petra Kvitova eased past Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6-1.

AFP

Nadal Blasts Kyrgios For ‘Lack Of Respect’ After Acapulco Defeat

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios (L) argues with court judge during a Mexico ATP 500 Open men’s single tennis match against Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal in Acapulco, Guerrero state, Mexico on February 27, 2019. PEDRO PARDO / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal accused Nick Kyrgios of lacking respect “for the public, the opponent and himself” after a stormy defeat to the Australian firebrand at the Mexico Open.

Kyrgios survived three match points to beat top-seeded Nadal 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (8/6) on Wednesday and reach the quarter-finals.

However, 17-time major winner Nadal was furious with Kyrgios who at one stage complained of being sick, served underarm late in the match before cupping his ear to the boos of the crowd at the conclusion of the second round tie.

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“He is a player with huge talent and could be winning Grand Slams or fighting for the number one ranking,” said Nadal.

“But he lacks respect for the public, the opponent and for himself.”

Kyrgios, ranked 72 in the world, hit back at Nadal.

AFP

Mentally-Rejuvenated Kyrgios To Cut Back On 2019 Schedule

'Unwell' Kyrgios Sorry For Shanghai Walk-Off
Nick Kyrgios of Australia hits a return during the men’s singles against Steve Johnson of America at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 10, 2017. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

Temperamental Australian Nick Kyrgios says he will cut back on his schedule in 2019, blaming long stints away from home for mental health issues that led him to see psychologists.

The fiery 23-year-old had another roller-coaster tennis season this year where he was criticised for his on-court antics before an elbow injury forced him to call an early halt to the year in October.

On returning home he told his local Canberra Times newspaper he was “starting to see some psychologists and trying to get on top of my mental health”, admitting he had “probably left it a little too long”.

He makes his tennis comeback at the Brisbane International this week as defending champion and said he was feeling much better but would tighten-up his schedule after a gruelling 2018.

“Being home solved a lot of my problems. It was more mental than anything,” he said.

“I was away from home for five-and-a-half months. I don’t ever want to do that again.

“If I was to win the US Open or something, I won’t play again for the rest of the year,” he added.

The supremely talented but combustible Kyrgios has become infamous for petulant behaviour, outbursts and meltdowns on the court.

At the US Open in August, an umpire gave him a controversial pep talk during his second-round game for his perceived lack of effort.

And he was criticised for his lackluster performance in exiting the Shanghai Masters in the first round in October.

Kyrgios said that “being away from home was the toughest bit”.

“Battling injuries, going to tournaments and not even playing was tough, but again, they’re not really big problems,” he added.

“I’ll have a lighter schedule and when I play, enjoy playing and just compete.”

His start to the new season hasn’t gone entirely to plan after he was bitten by a spider and admitted to hospital on Christmas Day.

But after antibiotics and rest he said he was ready to go again.

“I didn’t take it (bite) seriously. I just felt an irritation on my foot the day before Christmas,” he said. “There are worse things in the world but I think I’ll be okay.”

Kyrgios has been dealt a tough start to his Brisbane defence after being drawn to face American Ryan Harrison in the first round in a rematch of 2018 final.

AFP

Kyrgios Bitten By Spider Ahead Of Brisbane Title Defence

'Unwell' Kyrgios Sorry For Shanghai Walk-Off
Nick Kyrgios of Australia hits a return during the men’s singles against Steve Johnson of America at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 10, 2017. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

Temperamental Australian star Nick Kyrgios revealed on Friday he was bitten by a spider over Christmas ahead of his defence of the Brisbane International.

The fiery 23-year-old posted a short video on his Instagram account showing him with what appeared to be a drip in his arm and being treated by medics.

“This spider bite outta contro,” a caption to the video said.

He added to his nearly one million followers: “Got a spider bite on my foot. Christmas different every year.”

Local reports said he spent the festive season in a Canberra hospital but was still on track to be in Brisbane for the tournament that starts on Monday.

Kyrgios finished his season early in October after an elbow injury forced him out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Returning home to prepare for 2019, the world number 35 admitted last month he was working through mental health issues that had plagued him throughout the year.

“I’m starting to see some psychologists and trying to get on top of my mental health,” he said then.

The supremely talented but combustible Kyrgios has become infamous for his public outbursts and meltdowns on court.

His win in Brisbane was his only title success in 2018.

AFP

Federer Blasts Umpire In Kyrgios ‘I Want To Help You’ Row

Federer Blasts Umpire In Kyrgios 'I Want To Help You' Row
(File) Switzerland’s Roger Federer eyes the ball during a match at the ATP Gerry Weber Open tennis tournament in Halle, western Germany, on June 19, 2018. Friso Gentsch / dpa / AFP

 

Roger Federer said respected umpire Mohamed Lahyani was wrong to get out of his chair to give Nick Kyrgios a controversial pep-talk at the US Open on Thursday which sparked a row over impartiality of officials in the sport.

Lahyani stunned fans when he climbed down from his chair in the second set of Kyrgios’s second round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France on Court 17 to seemingly berate the Australian for a lack of effort.

“I want to help you. This isn’t you. I know that. You are great for tennis,” Lahyani can be heard saying.

Kyrgios went on to pocket 19 of the next 25 games to win 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-0, setting up a third round clash with five-time US Open champion Federer on Saturday.

“It’s not the umpire’s role to go down from the chair. But I get what he was trying to do. He behaves the way he behaves,” said Federer.

“You as an umpire take a decision on the chair, do you like it or don’t you like it. But you don’t go and speak like that, in my opinion.

“I don’t know what he said. I don’t care what he said. It was not just about How are you feeling? Oh, I’m not feeling so well. Go back up to the chair. He was there for too long.

“It’s a conversation. Conversations can change your mindset. It can be a physio, a doctor, an umpire for that matter. That’s why it won’t happen again. I think everybody knows that.”

Kyrgios played down the incident, claiming Lahyani had merely said “he liked me” and that “he was just concerned with the way I was playing”.

Like Federer, Herbert insisted that Lahyani had over-stepped the mark and would confront the official over the issue.

AFP

Nick Kyrgios Ruins Andy Murray’s Queen’s Comeback

Britain’s Andy Murray plays a shot to Australia’s Nick Kyrgios during their first round men’s singles match at the ATP Queen’s Club Championships tennis tournament in west London on June 19, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

Andy Murray endured a frustrating return from his injury nightmare as the former world number one was beaten 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 by temperamental Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Queen’s Club first round on Tuesday.

Murray gave an encouraging display in his first competitive match in 11 months after finally recovering from the hip problem that required surgery in January.

But the 31-year-old Scot couldn’t secure a fairytale comeback as Kyrgios recovered from first set accusations of ‘tanking’ (losing without trying to win) to knock out the five-time winner of the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Finally back on the court for the first time since a Wimbledon quarter-final defeat against Sam Querrey 342 days ago, Murray had low expectations of his return after several aborted comeback attempts.

But the two-time Wimbledon champion, whose ranking has plummeted to 156, will have taken heart from the way he competed, even if there were signs of rust in his shot-making and movement at times.#

Murray reacts to a lost point during the game. Photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Kyrgios has been accused of tanking in the past when matches have slipped away with little effort.

And just days after the world number 21 almost beat Roger Federer in Stuttgart, he sabotaged himself with a series of bizarrely loose shots in the first set.

Former British player Andrew Castle, commentating on the match for the BBC, said: “This is a tank from Kyrgios.

“He’s just hitting the ball as hard as he can. That’s fine but don’t expect us not to call it because it is.”

Kyrgios returns to Murray during the match. Photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Despite that helpful contribution from his good friend, Murray gradually ran out of steam and Kyrgios found his composure to seal his first win over the Scot at the sixth attempt.

“I was thinking how great it was to see Andy back. I asked if he is was okay at the end of the match and he was,” Kyrgios said.

“He came out really good and I kind of expected that. Regarding my own style, I’ve been entertaining since I was kid.

“I’ve got bad and good things but I’m never going to change.”

Watched by wife Kim and mum Judy, Murray was given a rousing reception as he walked onto the court and responded with a bashful wave to the crowd.

Murray had described his protracted rehabilitation, which featured only two exhibitions outings since Wimbledon last year, as the toughest spell of his career — a painful period of absence he said had reaffirmed his love for the sport.

Murray (L) shakes hands with Kyrgios after the match. Glyn KIRK / AFP

Cathartic

All the demons from those anxious medical updates and gruelling hours in the gym could finally be exorcised as Murray traded ground-strokes with Kyrgios from the baseline before capping the first point of his return with a cathartic forehand winner.

When Kyrgios tried an optimistic half-volley from the baseline, Murray scampered to the net to meet with a superb winner that proved his desire remains as strong as ever.

Murray’s returns were driving Kyrgios to distraction — not that he needs much excuse to lose focus — and a double fault gave the three-time Grand Slam champion the first break for a 4-2 lead.

With Kyrgios apparently complaining about his fitness and blasting a series of wild second serves, Murray finished the first set with ease.

Even when Kyrgios broke twice in the first game of the second set, the 23-year-old still didn’t seem happy, muttering “Am I wasting my time” while dropping his own serve.

Murray took advantage, recovering from 4-2 down to force a tie-break, but a suddenly focused Kyrgios took the break to force a deciding set.

Inevitably labouring as the match passed two and a half hours, Murray refused to surrender to his aching body and dug deep to save two match points at 4-5.

But fatigue finally got the better of him when a tired double fault handed Kyrgios a win that leaves Murray to concentrate on building his stamina ahead of next month’s Wimbledon.

AFP

Federer Regains World Number One Ranking After Kyrgios Win

Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts after winning the semi-final match against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios at the ATP Mercedes Cup tennis tournament in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on June 16, 2018. THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

 

Roger Federer staged a 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) comeback on Saturday over Nick Kyrgios to reach the Stuttgart Cup final and take back the world number one ranking.

The 36-year-old Swiss will resume his place at the top of the ATP rankings for the sixth time in his career on Monday, beginning a record 310th week at the summit of the men’s game.

His upward move will leave Rafael Nadal on second as the countdown to Wimbledon intensifies with a fortnight left prior to the start of the grasscourt major.

Top seed Federer will play for the 98th title of his career on Sunday against Milos Raonic.

The Canadian hammered 19 aces to eliminate defending champion Lucas Pouille 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

Federer stands 10-3 over Raonic, Wimbledon finalist in 2016 against Andy Murray.

The Swiss, who owns 20 Grand Slam singles titles, needed to fight all the way against Australian threat Kyrgios, playing his first event in two months due to injury.

Federer dropped the opening set in a tiebreaker but roared back in the second with a pair of breaks to level at a set each.

The third set was tight all the way into the tiebreaker, with Federer erasing a 3-1 deficit.

The heavy crowd favourite at the Weissenhof Club earned a match point with a high overhead backhand winner and finished off the popular victory seconds later to the roar of fans after just under two hours.

Raonic, plagued by injury over the past few seasons, is making his Stuttgart debut.

The Canadian seventh seed feels his game is starting to fire again.

“I have nothing to complain about, everything is going positive,” he said.

“I’m playing better with each match, I’m there at the important moments in the games, that’s an important thing.”

The 35th-ranked Raonic beat the second-seeded Pouille for the third time without a loss in the series and said he is not allowing any thoughts of Queen’s club next week or Wimbledon enter his mind.

“I’m just concentrating on the job to hand, trying to do it well. If I can play well, I’ll be having my chances on the grass.”

The Canadian saved the lone break point he faced while breaking Pouille twice.

“Reaching the final is an important step for me,” he said. “There is a big difference between playing a semi and a final.

“I’m making positive progress, I’m happy with it and hope to keep it up tomorrow.”

Raonic played his last final in May 2017, losing in Istanbul to Marin Cilic.

His last grass final came at 2016 Wimbledon in a loss to Andy Murray.

AFP

Nadal Thrashes Kyrgios To Win China Open Title

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning a point during his men’s singles final match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 8, 2017. NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

World number one Rafael Nadal won his sixth title of another remarkable year as he punished a disgruntled Nick Kyrgios at the China Open on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Spaniard was never really in trouble against the temperamental Australian in a 6-2, 6-1 rout in 92 minutes on Beijing’s outside hard courts.

Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam winner, came to the Chinese capital on the back of winning his third US Open.

He saved two match points in his nervy opener against Frenchman Lucas Pouille.

But after that Nadal sliced through the opposition to win the China Open for the first time since making his debut in Beijing in 2005.

Since then Nadal has gone on to become one of the greatest players of all time and he underlined his brilliance in swatting aside the 22-year-old Kyrgios.

The world-ranked 19 displayed his best side in forcing Nadal to 2-2 in the first set, but his other side emerged later.

Kyrgios was already on a warning from the umpire from the first game of the match for something he said.

And when he went down 30-0 on Nadal’s serve at 2-2, he began the first in a series of lengthy discussions with the umpire — frequently spreading his arms in despair.

The Australian, going for a fourth career title, shook his head and continued the discussion as he trudged back to his chair, initially to whistles from the crowd and then cheers to encourage him.

Kyrgios, whose undoubted talent has often been overshadowed by his on-court conduct, collected a penalty point as his title hopes quickly evaporated.

AFP