Kyrgios Crushes Rublev In Miami

Aussie will next face Fognini of Italy

Nick Kyrgios might be No. 102 in the ATP Rankings, but he certainly did not play like it on Friday afternoon.

The wild card crushed in-form fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-0 to reach the third round of the Miami Open presented by Itau. Kyrgios will next play Italian Fabio Fognini in what should be an entertaining contest between two of the best shotmakers on Tour.

"He came out hot at the start and that's tennis. A couple points could swing a momentum change like that and once I got that double break, I started seeing the return really well," Kyrgios said. "I've been returning well the past four months and I guess when that's happening, I'm serving the way I'm serving, I'm feeling the way I'm feeling, my shoulders open up and I just ran with it."

It is the third Top 10 win in a two-tournament span for the Australian, who upset Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner en route to the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals at Indian Wells. The six-time ATP Tour titlist is now 6-2 on the season, with his only two losses coming against Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal.

Rublev entered the match in great form, having won titles in Marseille and Dubai before advancing to the Indian Wells semi-finals. But Kyrgios never allowed him to gain any rhythm. The former World No. 13 was extremely aggressive on return, preventing the fifth seed from controlling points.

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Kyrgios broke his opponent's serve five times and won 56 per cent of his return points against one of the best players in the world. The only hiccup came as he served for the match. At 40/0, Kyrgios hit an underarm tweener serve that missed, and in a flash the game ended up at deuce. But the crowd favourite gathered himself to close out the match in just 52 minutes.

"I know that he's a player who relies on a bit of rhythm, so I just tried to keep the points short and sharp, just play aggressive," Kyrgios said. "I'm just happy with my performance, whether it's 7-6 in the third or something like this, I'm just happy to get through."

Kyrgios' next opponent, Fognini, battled past Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-7(1), 6-2, 7-6(5) after two hours and 51 minutes.

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