© Mike Lawrence/Miami Open

Nick Kyrgios improves to a 10-2 record in Miami with a straight-sets win over Fabio Fognini in the third round.

Kyrgios, Zverev To Clash

Two-time defending semi-finalist Kyrgios to play Zverev in Miami for second straight year

Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev will add another chapter to their budding rivalry after contrasting wins Monday at Crandon Park. Kygrios needed just 66 minutes to dismiss Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3, while Zverev was pushed to the limit before edging David Ferrer 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in a tense 1 hour, 50 minute slugfest under lights.

It's safe to say that Kyrgios has enjoyed playing in Miami. It’s where he advanced to his first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-finals the past two seasons — in his first two appearances at the tournament, no less.

And if the Australian’s start this year has been a sign of the future, Kyrgios could be in for another big run at Crandon Park. The 22-year-old cruised past recent Sao Paulo champion and the No. 15 seed Fognini, for the loss of just six games to move into the Round of 16 at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

"We both competed," Kyrgios said. "I just played a little better in some bigger points."

After emerging from a battle between two semi-finalists from last year’s tournament in South Florida, Kyrgios is now 10-2 in Miami, as he continues pursuing a maiden Masters 1000 title. This is his third Top 20 win of the season, and he advances to play fourth seed Zverev, whom he defeated 6-3 in the third set this time last year in the Miami quarter-finals.

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It is Kyrgios’ third tournament of the season, and his first since the Australian Open. The World No. 20 won his fourth ATP World Tour title to begin the campaign at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, his first trophy on home soil.

Monday’s first-time FedEx ATP Head2Head matchup between the two Top 20 players set up to be a blockbuster, but it was Kyrgios who controlled play and seized his opportunities. While the No. 17 seed did not allow the Italian a break point in the match, the right-hander broke at three of five opportunities, even though Fognini lost just three points on his first serve (18/21). Kyrgios has yet to face break point in the tournament.

"I knew it was going to be tough. He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and he's very unpredictable," Kyrgios said. "I knew I just had to serve well, play aggressive and keep the points short. When he gets in a rhythm he's pretty dangerous."

Kyrgios Serving In Miami 2018

 Opponent  First-Serve Points Won  Second-Serve Points Won  Break Points Faced
 Dusan Lajovic  85 per cent (22/25)  83 per cent (10/12)  0
 No. 15 Fabio Fognini  76 per cent (22/29)  62 per cent (16/26)  0

Zverev did not make the best of starts against Ferrer, who was spotting his German opponent 15 years in age and 30 ATP Rankings positions. The 20-year-old made 11 unforced errors - including seven on his highly-rated backhand - in the first set.

Zverev claimed two breaks to begin the second set and another break at the start of the third. But Ferrer mounted a spirited defence, broke back and conceded nothing until the ninth game when, after missing a midcourt forehand, he double faulted on break point to go down 4-5.

It was a cruel but decisive blow and one that saw the normally composed Spaniard thunder his racquet into the court.

Did You Know?
Kyrgios has made all three of his Masters 1000 semi-finals (including 2017 Cincinnati final) in the United States.


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