Kyrgios Saves 1 M.P., Beats Tsitsipas In Washington
Fifty-one players are ranked higher than Nick Kyrgios in the ATP Rankings, but against the best in the world, there's no one better than the talented Aussie. Kyrgios improved to 4-1 against Top 10 players this season on Saturday, saving one match point and beating No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7) to make the Citi Open final in Washington, D.C.
After an up and down opening two sets, Kyrgios brought his best in the third-set tie-break, serving and volleying and ripping forehands to make his second ATP Tour final of the season. Kyrgios saved a match point with a service winner at 5/6 in the tie-break and clinched the semi-final with a 1-2 serve-forehand combination.
“This week has been awesome. It's probably one of the best tournament weeks of my life. I've really enjoyed myself. D.C. has been a lot of fun. Crowds have been awesome,” Kyrgios said. “But I'm just doing the right things. I'm having the same routine every day. I'm trying to improve on a lot of little habits, and it's paying off. Five days in a row competing, I'm pretty happy with myself.”
The 24-year-old won the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, an ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco, in March (d. Zverev), and will next face four-time ATP Tour titlist Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who breezed past German lucky loser Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-2 in only 56 minutes. Medvedev won 56 per cent of his return points and converted all five break points.
“With guys like Nick and me, it always comes to one break of serve or to a tie-break, so that's probably what we are both looking for tomorrow,” Medvedev said. “[We'll] just do our best on the return and stay solid, and that will be the key.”
Kyrgios beat Medvedev earlier this year in Rome during their only FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. “He's a super unorthodox player. He's got a very tough game, hits the ball flat. Unbelievable athlete I think for his size. He moves really well," Kyrgios said. "That match in Rome was high level. I thought I played the right way, I had the right tactics, so he's going to make adjustments.”
Kyrgios' 80 per cent success rate (4/5) against the Top 10 this year is best on the ATP Tour. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, second in the category, has won seven of his nine matches (7/9, 78%) against the elite group.
Kyrgios had everything working for him at the start of his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against the 20-year-old Greek. He was demolishing forehand winners, smacking one-handed backhands and, to go ahead 4-2, he cut a nonchalant backhand volley, handing out fist bumps to the crowd to celebrate.
“He was playing well. He was on fire at some moments during the match... He kept holding his serve and putting pressure on me,” Tsitsipas said.
The Aussie won 87 per cent of his service points, and after a break in the opening game of the second, his place in the ATP 500 final looked all but secure. But Tsitsipas pounced on Kyrgios' second serve to break twice and force a decider.
There, Kyrgios saved two break points early in the third set and saw a match point come and go at 7/6 in the tie-break. But some crafty play while Tsitsipas was at net brought up Kyrgios' first match point on serve.
“I'm pretty happy with myself the way I tried to drag it back from a dark place and managed to hold on the first couple service games in the third set and just competed. I just left it all out there and gave myself a chance to win the match,” Kyrgios said. “I'm pretty happy the way I somehow just battled in and dug deep.”