Former world No. 13 Nick Kyrgios made a winning start to his campaign at the Atlanta Open. Kyrgios, now ranked at No. 58 in the world, handed a 7-6 (4) 6-3 loss to former world No. 5 Kevin Anderson to progress into the Atlanta round-of-16.
“Kevin is no easy opponent, he’s a finalist at Grand Slams and he knows how to win matches,” Kyrgios said in an on-court interview. “His serve is one of the best in the world, so I knew today was going to be incredibly tough.
I haven’t played too many matches, but I was serving well and I just love playing here in Atlanta”. Kyrgios had a chance to open the match with a break but he failed to convert any of his two break points in the following game.
After two break points in the opening game, both players firmly held on to their serve the rest of the set and the opener had to be resolved in a tie-break. Anderson started the tie-break with a 2-0 lead but then lost the following four points.
Kyrgios then held on to his lead as he converted his second set point to win a tight opener. In the second set, Kyrgios earned the first break of the match in the eighth game and then served out for the match in the following game.
Kyrgios pulled off a little trick
After earning a match point, Kyrgios walked over to a fan and asked him where to serve. “It’s a routine that I’ve been doing for the last few years, just trying to get the fans involved,” Kyrgios explained.
“I saw that he had an ‘NK Nation’ hat on, and I said, ‘Where do you want me to serve?’ He just said, ‘Just go big, wide.’ So there you go”. Meanwhile, five-time Atlanta champion John Isner also made a winning start to his Atlanta campaign.
Isner, ranked at No. 35 in the world, edged out rising American star J.J. Wolf 6-4 6-7 (3) 6-4. "I was very happy with how I played today. J.J. is an incredibly tough player. He's actually had a lot of bad luck with injuries recently," Isner said in an on-court interview.
"He was on his way up, got derailed a little bit. But it's only a matter of time until he gets back to where he belongs, and that's a very high ranking in my opinion."