Tennis fans all around the world, particularly fans in Australia, have been waiting for Nick Kyrgios to mature and play up to his talent level. Today, against Victor Troicki, the mercurial Aussie took another step in that direction, continuing his strong early season form to dismiss the Serb 7-5 6-4 7-6(2) for his 7th consecutive victory and move into the Australian Open third round.
The match got off to an entertaining start, as Troicki survived a marathon game to hold. The fifth game of the match produced another marathon game on the Troicki serve. From here, both men settled into a nice groove on serve until 5-5, where Troicki finally cracked and double faulted twice. Kyrgios then cranked up the heat off the ground and broke to love for 6-5. The Aussie then promptly rained down some big serves, punctuated by a huge ace, to capture the first set, 7-5.
Kyrgios would waste no time in taking control of the match, as he broke immediately at the start of the second and continued to hold serve in clinical fashion, wrapping up an impressive 6-4 set by ripping a crosscourt backhand.
The third opened with Troicki’s serve once more under assault, but the Serb would survive several deuces and break points to hold. Troicki finally got a break point after Kyrgios double faulted, but a seeing eye backhand down the line saved it, and usual service was restored with two big serves to level the third at 1. Kyrgios quickly broke in the very next game with some splendid shotmaking, and the finish line was coming into focus. Troicki was hanging tough, as he did all match, but the Kyrgios serve was simply impenetrable as the aces piled up, and Kyrgios moved quickly to 5-3. Troicki continued to battle, fighting off a matchpoint and holding with some quality serving, and his resolve finally paid off as a net chord and a missed Kyrgios forehand levelled the third at five games apiece. This surely brought back flashes of last year’s Australian Open for Kyrgios, as he had lost to Andreas Seppi despite being in complete control of that match as well. Those concerns intensified after Troicki quickly held and pushed Kyrgios to deuce, but a delicate dropper and a missed backhand from Troicki sent the third set to a tiebreak.
The breaker got off to an entertaining start, with an amazing Kyrgios pass giving him a 2-1 lead. He followed that up with back to back points on the Troicki serve to put himself in a commanding position. This time, Kyrgios did not falter, helped by Troicki hitting the umpire in the head on a return and a strong serve and volley play, to move to the doorstep of victory at 6-1. Troicki was not done yet, coming up with a stunning backhand drop volley, but he was merely delaying the inevitable as Kyrgios pulled a backhand past his reach to wrap up the victory. Kyrgios reaffirmed his newfound maturity by keeping his cool marvelously and playing a splendid tiebreak despite squandering a match point earlier. Troicki himself put forth a great effort in what was an entertaining clash.
Kyrgios’ serve was simply splendid today, and after losing just five points on serve total in his opening match, he followed that up with another great serving performance today, despite the small blip in the end. Very few can hang with him when he’s serving like that and playing as cleanly as he did today. Kyrgios moves into the third round without the loss of a set, setting up a clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was a beneficiary of a Denis Shapovalov fifth set meltdown. In any case, that should be a great match between two of tennis’ best entertainers. Stay tuned to tennis-pulse.com for coverage of that one and the rest of the year’s first major.