Only last week Australia’s Nick Kyrgios was being booed and heckled in a match in Delray Beach. This week, he still got booed, but it could not be for lack of effort. He capped an amazing run by defeating world no. 3 Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4 in the ATP 500 final for the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title in Acapulco.
Kyrgios opened the serving and won a few easy points on the back of some huge serves. The Australian world no. 72 held serve after hitting an Ace winner at 40-30.
Zverev was serving at 1-2 and he fell behind 0-40. He saved one break point only to hit a forehand long on the next point to concede the first break of the match.
Kyrgios consolidated the break to lead 4-1. At the change of ends, Zverev took out his frustrations on his racquet and smashed it to pieces.
Games went with serve before Kyrgios finally served out the set to lead 6-3.
The German was under pressure in the opening game of the second set and faced a breakpoint after two shots had clipped the net and bounced wide. When facing break point Zverev hit his backhand wide to fall behind.
A few casual shots from Kyrgios saw him facing a break point in his first service game and he gave back the break after serving a double fault at 30-40.
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Photo: Nick Kyrgios of Australia serves to Alexander Zverev of Germany during the Telcel Mexican Open 2019 at Mextenis Stadium on in Acapulco, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Zverev held comfortable to go ahead 2-1 then he had Kyrgios down 15-40 after challenging a shot that was called out when the replay showed it caught the baseline. A big served and then back-to-back drop shots helped Kyrgios get to Ad. He tried the drop shot once again, this time is was poorly executed. Zverev chased it down and forced Kyrgios to attempt a passing shot. The shot was netted.
Kyrgios persisted with the drop shot tactics and this time forced an error from Zverev. The score was now 2-2 with just over an hour played.
With Zverev serving Kyrgios was starting to play unconventional shots and fell behind 40-0. Zverev tried a drop shot Kyrgios chased down but hit it within reach of his opponent. Zverev’s reply was volleyed into the open court. The next point a wide serve return was well struck by Kyrgios forcing an error. Then Kyrgios stepped into a shot to hit a winner for deuce.
Kyrgios was not on the attack, he forced Zverev to chase a ball near the baseline which the German hit a tweener. Kyrgios then bounced the next shot short into the court but on the bounce, the ball ballooned up near the front row of the grandstand, Zverev hit a lob that sailed wide. Zverev would save one break point but Kyrgios would fight on and eventually, he broke serve with a great dipping passing shot.
The match and championship were again in favour of Kyrgios as he stepped up to serve at 3-2.
Zverev quickly hit back and was up 15-40 before the Australian fought back to deuce. The first pumps were starting to come from Kyrgios. He served an Ace for 4-2.
The German kept the pressure on his opponent after serving out his next game to love. Kyrgios would fight back the challenge from Zverev after seeing the score at 30-30. After holding serve the Australian was one game from the championship.
Zverev again held to love to force Kyrgios to serve out the match.
When you think of Nick Kyrgios you think of big serves, and that is what he used to close out the match. On the first point he served out wide and Zverev could not get the return back. Next, he served a big serve down the T that again was not controlled by Zverev. At 30-0 the German got the return back in play and he won the point.
Kyrgios brought up two championship points with a high kicking second serve ace. He sealed the deal with a big second serve down the T that Zverev could only get his racquet on and it fell near his feet.
It was a reserved celebration from Kyrgios. Moments later Zverev was sitting courtside shaking his head.
This could be a defining moment in the career of the enigmatic Australian. Many would have looked at the draw and written him off in the second round clash against Rafael Nadal. Instead he showed great fight to overcome the world no. 2 in three sets, including saving match points along the way.
Kyrgios would back up that win with a victory over Stan Wawrinka, again another tough battle won in three sets. Next up was a titanic battle against John Isner.
This week in Mexico has been the most focused Kyrgios has been for a long time. It just shows what is possible. Just which Nick Kyrgios will show up in Indian Wells remains to be seen.