Home Sweet Home: Kyrgios Wins In Brisbane
There has never been any doubt about Nick Kyrgios' talent — the 22-year-old is one of just two players (former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt) to defeat Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. But one thing the shotmaker had never done was win an ATP World Tour title at home.
Kyrgios changed that on Sunday with an impressive performance in the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp championship match, defeating Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2 to claim his fourth ATP World Tour trophy in 73 minutes.
"I felt good all week. I felt right at home," Kyrgios told the crowd. "Every time I stepped out here you gave me such great support. I love playing in front of you guys even though sometimes it may not seem that way. But I do. I really appreciate it."
The World No. 21 triumphed in three of his first four ATP World Tour finals, with the exception being his first at the Millennium Estoril Open in 2015 (l. to Gasquet). But in 2017, Kyrgios fell one match short of a title twice, finishing runner-up at the Western & Southern Open (l. to Dimitrov) and the China Open (l. to Nadal).
He wasted no time getting into the winners' column in 2018, seizing a title in the first week of the campaign. Kyrgios won in straight sets for the third time in four championship-match victories, breaking Harrison at three of seven opportunities.
And while the scoreline may seem routine, the match was not. Harrison showed his good form early, earning a combined five break points across two of Kyrgios' first three service games. But the home favourite did not fold under the pressure, dismissing them all.
"He came out firing early. He had a lot of chances. And I knew that was going to be the gist of how things were going to go," Kyrgios said. "I knew he was going to come out and play really aggressive, try and take things into his own hands. And I was just telling myself, just keep with it and things will steady on."
Those would be the only break points Kyrgios would face in the match. And after the final one in his third service game, the right-hander won 22 consecutive points on his serve en route to the title.
"His level is very high. I think that we all know how well he can play. He brought a very high level today,” Harrison said of the first Australian to win in Brisbane since Hewitt in 2014. "And playing out here in Australia, he's obviously very motivated and very comfortable. He's going to be a danger to beat anybody that he plays whenever he plays like that. I think that it's nothing new, though, for him. He knows that and he knows he has the level."
Kyrgios' win earns him 250 ATP Rankings points and $83,650, while Harrison leaves Brisbane with 150 points and $44,055. Kyrgios is projected to climb to No. 17 in the rankings on Monday.