Australia’s Nick Kyrgios took on the world no. 3 Juan Martín del Potro in their delayed third round match at the Cincinnati Masters 1000 event, also known as the Western and Southern Open.
After being washed out yesterday the match started later than scheduled in the morning after a heavy downpour passed through the tennis complex earlier in the day.
The winner would need to backup later in the day to get the tournament back on schedule with a quarterfinal match.
World no. 18 Kyrgios opened the serving and held comfortably. Juan Martín del Potro also had an easy service game as both players worked their way into the match.
Serving at 2-2 Kyrgios started with three-straight aces that del Potro didn’t seem to read at all as he stepped away from the ball each time to be left stranded.
The next two games saw both players tested on serve but they both continued to hold serve.
At 4-4 del Potro had his first lead against the Kyrgios serve as he got to 15-30. A brilliant point followed where Kyrgios hit a sharply angled high backhand volley smash. A similar point followed where this time del Potro brilliantly lobbed Kyrgios after the Australian had framed a smash. That gave the Argentinian his first break point which he hit just long. Kyrgios followed up with an ace and then hit a winner from close to the net.
At the change of ends, Kyrgios voiced his displeasure at the linesman after a half call. Kyrgios said he missed his shot after that distraction, the umpire saw it differently.
After two missed forehands from del Potro, Kyrgios got his first look at a breakpoint and a set point. Kyrgios looked to have hit a winner only to see the ball clip the net and fall wide. del Potro won the next point with some good volleys, then won the game after an unforced error from Kyrgios.
Two more service games that went with serve saw the inevitable tiebreaker. Kyrgios got things underway with the first point. On the next point, Kyrgios made a mess of an attempted tweener to lose the point.
Kyrgios had lifted the intensity of his groundstrokes and forced an error from del Potro to level the score at 2-2. A looping forehand winner that looked to be going long got the Australian to 3-2. Kyrgios then hit a powerful forehand down the line shot just wide to see the players change ends at 3-3.
del Potro was asked a question about his quality of passing shot as Kyrgios rushed the net, the Argentinian answered with a topspin pass. The next point ended with a huge mishit from Kyrgios that ended up deep into the stands. A del Potro ace setup his first set point at 6-4.
Kyrgios had a look at a second serve and hit a good return, he then tried a drop shop that del Potro easily reached and hit back across the court with a sharp angle. As the ball dipped low and away from Kyrgios the Australian could only volley short and high and del Potro fired it hard back at his opponent who was right on the net. That won the point and with it the first set 7-6(4).
Games went with serve in the second set, there were some entertaining points along the way, especially at 3-3, 40-0 with del Potro serving. Kyrgios charged the serve of del Potro and played a great half-volley that del Potro hit as a tame tweener back to Kyrgios at the net. Kyrgios then gently hit the ball back to del Potro which was hit slowly back to Kyrgios who then hit an angled shot to take the point. That ended 21 straight points won by the server.
A few points later Kyrgios hit a great falling volley with a roll thrown in on the hard court.
The players again found themselves in a tiebreak to decide the second set. del Potro took the first point after hitting a sharp cross-court forehand winner. Two big serves followed from Kyrgios to get a 2-1 lead. A delicate Kyrgios drop shot gave him the first mini break, followed by, no surprise a big serve to force an error.
That gave the Australian a 4-2 lead. A second serve ace took Kyrgios to 5-2. del Potro won the next two points on his serve for 5-4. A Kyrgios ace gave him the set point. A 136 mp/h second serve into the net saw him double fault to keep del Potro in the set. Some big hitting from del Porto finally won him the point as Kyrgios could not chase down a big shot. It was now 6-6.
Kyrgios then showed his skills when he looked to be playing a drop shot, only to hit a pushed shot down the line for a winner. Next up Kyrgios closed out the second set with an ace.
In the first game of the deciding set, Kyrgios was a bit agitated after being made to wait to serve by del Potro. It took 8 minutes 55 seconds from the end of the second set to the first point in the third.
Kyrgios opened the game with a double fault, then an ace then another double fault. Next came a double tweener from Kyrgios as two times he charged the net only to be lobbed by del Potro. At the end of the point Kyrgios carelessly pushed the ball wide to setup two break points.
He saved the first with a well-disguised drop shot but then hit a shot that clipped the net and sailed wide to hand del Potro the first break of serve in the match.
del Potro then held for a 3-1 lead. In the next game Kyrgios badly missed a forehand at 30-30 to set up a break point. Another missed forehand that went well long of the baseline saw del Potro get the double break for a 4-1 advantage. With the Argentinian having not dropped a service game to this point it was looking likely that he would close out the match.
del Potro started the sixth game at 15-0 after Kyrgios smashed his racquet during the change of ends and earned a point penalty after having earlier been giving a warning for hitting a ball into the stands in anger. del Potro easily held serve for a 5-1 advantage.
At 40-0 in the seventh game, Kyrgios turned his back on a point before del Potro had put away the winner. He was flexing his knees to indicate that was the reason for his lack of effort. Kyrgios held serve to make del Potro serve out the match. He did so with little resistance to complete a 7-6(4), 7-6(6), 6-2 victory.
It was again an interesting match from Kyrgios. He competed hard for two sets but then lacked effort or concentration at times through the third set. del Potro was solid throughout and deserved the win to advance to the quarterfinals where he will play David Goffin who defeated Kevin Anderson in straight sets.