Kyrgios Holds Off Millman In Delray Beach
Nick Kyrgios held his nerve to win an all-Aussie battle against fifth seed John Millman on Monday at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com. In a match where nothing separated the two baseliners for more than two hours, Kyrgios found a new gear in the final minutes of the contest to advance 6-4, 6-7(1), 7-6(3).
“My serve keeps bailing me out of these types of matches, which is pretty fortunate for me,” said Kyrgios, who finished the night with 19 aces. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. John is one of the toughest competitors on tour and he’s a good mate of mine, so I’m just happy to get through with the win.”
The victory was critical for Kyrgios, who has dropped to No. 64 in the ATP Rankings and arrived in Delray Beach with a 1-2 record this season. But having pulled out of Delray Beach last year due to a right elbow injury, this week is a valuable opportunity for the Aussie to begin pushing himself back up the ATP Rankings.
Kyrgios lost his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting to Millman in the first round of the 2017 US Open and proved eager to turn the tables. He opened the match with a break of serve and rode that slight advantage to take the first set. Both men held serve throughout the second set to force a tie-break, but Kyrgios double faulted to give Millman a 3/0 lead and the fifth seed forced a decider.
The final set featured 12 more service holds to bring another tie-break, but Kyrgios increased the speed on his forehand to control the baseline rallies and prevail after two hours and four minutes. He’ll take on either 2015 champion Ivo Karlovic of Croatia or Radu Albot of Moldova in the next round.
The opening match of the evening session saw wild card Lloyd Harris of South Africa earn the second ATP Tour main draw win of his career with a 7-6(1), 6-3 victory over qualifier Darian King of Barbados. Harris, who made his debut in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings earlier this month, saved three set points on his serve at 4-5 in the opening set.
“I’m happy to get the win and thought I played pretty good tonight,” said Harris. “I’ve been playing my best tennis over the past six months and if I play well, I believe I can beat anyone.”
A single break in each set was all Lukas Lacko of Slovakia required to beat qualifier Yosuke Watanuki of Japan 6-4, 6-4. Next up for Lacko is the winner of second seed John Isner of the United States and Peter Polansky of Canada.
Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5), 6-2 for his first win over the Spaniard in their four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. Awaiting him in the next round will be the winner of eighth seed Adrian Mannarino of France and Brayden Schnur of Canada, last week’s runner-up at the New York Open (l. to Opelka).