Kyrgios Cruises Past Carreno Busta In Halle

Australian to face Auger-Aliassime or Hurkaz in semi-finals

Nick Kyrgios produced an imperious performance on Friday at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle, where he raced to a 6-4, 6-2 victory against sixth seed Pablo Carreno Busta to reach his third tour-level semi-final of 2022.

The Australian struck the ball with confidence throughout the one-hour, nine-minute encounter, firing 37 winners including 13 aces to extend his ATP Head2Head series lead against Carreno Busta to 3-0.

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“I’m feeling so comfortable on the grass," said Kyrgios after the match. "Today was not easy at all. The scoreline suggest that it was, but he’s a dangerous player on all surfaces. He hits the ball quite flat, and he knows how to win matches.

"I knew that today I just had to take care of my serve, and just be locked in from the ground because he’s a tough competitor.”

The win lifts Kyrgios to a projected No. 45 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. The Australian could rise as high as No. 30 if he can lift a seventh ATP Tour trophy at the ATP 500 event. The 26-year-old has not been in the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since March 2021.

Kyrgios was almost untouchable on serve from the start against Carreno Busta. The World No. 65 won the first 12 points behind his delivery and dropped just seven points on serve in the match overall, giving the Spaniard little room to manoeuvre. The build-up of pressure paid off for Kyrgios in the fifth game, as he claimed a break to love that proved decisive in claiming the opening set.

The Australian took command of the match early in the second set as his imaginative and relentless ballstriking earned him an immediate break. With so little joy in his return games, Carreno Busta struggled to build any momentum to rouse a comeback, despite showing his trademark grit in some entertaining rallies that had the crowd on their feet inside OWL Arena. It was not enough to stop Kyrgios, however, who broke again on his way to wrapping up his 15th tour-level victory of the year.

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The win backs up Kyrgios' hard-fought triumph against World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round. The Australian admitted that he had been keen to avoid falling behind against Carreno Busta as he had against the Greek.

“Against Tsitsipas I wanted to get that first set," he said. "I know how much it means to get on top of those top players early on. Today from the get-go I applied so much pressure on his serve, and I thought I just returned really well today.”

In Saturday’s semi-finals, Kyrgios will face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Hubert Hurkacz as he aims to reach his first tour-level championship match appearance of the season.

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