Hurkacz Wins Decisive TB To Edge Kyrgios & Reach First Grass Final
Hubert Hurkacz advanced to his fifth ATP Tour final — and his first of 2022 — by powering past Nick Kyrgios at the Terra Wortmann Open, 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4), on Saturday. His place in his first grass-court title match is reward for a consistent season that has seen him compile a 27-11 record and reach three semi-finals, including this week in Halle.
In a match of fine margins, both players stood tall behind strong serving and could not be separated until late in each set. A single mini-break decided the third-set tie-break, with Kyrgios missing after Hurkacz floated a return deep into his forehand corner.
"One or two shots [was the difference]," Hurkacz said post-match. "Definitely super close. Nick played a really, really great match. He's a great player, so it was definitely a super tough one."
For the second straight match, including his 7-6(2), 7-6(4) quarter-final win over Felix Auger-Aliassime, Hurkacz won without securing a break of serve. He improves to 5-0 in tie-breaks this week.
"Trying to hit the strings on the return, that's what I'm trying to do," Hurkacz said with a laugh, attempting to explain his success in the tie-breaks. "Playing here with such a great server as Nick, you just try to get one ball in and that can make the difference."
Hurkacz tied his career-high for aces in a three-set match with 27 against Kyrgios, including 13 in the final set, and won just fewer than 80 per cent of points on both his first (78 per cent) and second (79 per cent) serves.
Kyrgios secured the only break of the match to claim a lightning-fast opening set in 31 minutes. The Aussie wild card crafted consecutive winners to convert at 4-4, but would not see another break point.
Hurkacz brought up the only break point of the second set in its fourth game but Kyrgios erased it with a timely ace, one of his 30 in the match. Just as Kyrgios used some late-set magic to seal the opener, Hurkacz put together a string of five dominant points to establish a 5/1 lead in the second-set tie-break behind some lasered returns
The Pole could not convert on his second break point at 1-1 in the third, but instead did his damage in the tie-break after holding to love in three of his last four service games.
After beating Kyrgios in their first ATP Head2Head meeting, Hurkacz will face Medvedev for the fifth time in the final. Their series stands level at 2-2, with all four of their previous meetings coming in the past 12 months. Hurkacz defeated Medvedev in five sets last year at Wimbledon in their first meeting.
The Pole is 4-0 in finals on the ATP Tour.
"When you play in the finals, you always want to get the big trophy," he said of his perfect record in those matches. "It's always super exciting to be part of the last match of the tournament... I really enjoy playing on grass courts. Of course Daniil is No. 1 in the world. I've never beaten a No. 1 in the world before. It's going to be a tough one but I'll try to enjoy it and play as good as I can."
Kyrgios was playing in his third consecutive tour-level semi-final, but continues his search for a first final on the year and on grass. The World No. 65's performance in Halle has lifted him 20 spots to No. 45 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.