The mercurial Nick Kyrgios began the year with his first title since 2016 on Sunday, defeating unseeded American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Brisbane International.
It was the fourth career title for the 22 year old, and the first in his home Australia.
“I felt good all week. I felt right at home,” Kyrgios told the crowd afterwards. “Every time I stepped out here you gave me such great support. I love playing in front of you guys even though sometimes it may not seem that way. But I do. I really appreciate it.”
Last year Kyrgios was 0-2 in finals, finishing runner-up at the Western & Southern Open (l. to Grigor Dimitrov) in Cincinnati and at the China Open (l. to Rafael Nadal). This week he beat Dimitrov in three sets in the semifinals.
Harrison had five break point opportunities early in the first set but could not convert on any.
“He came out firing early,” Kyrgios said of Harrison. “He had a lot of chances. And I knew that was going to be the gist of how things were going to go. I knew he was going to come out and play really aggressive, try and take things into his own hands. And I was just telling myself, just keep with it and things will steady on.”
And steady on Kyrgios did, at one point winning 22 consecutive points on service.
“His level is very high,” Harrison said afterwards. “I think that we all know how well he can play. He brought a very high level today. And playing out here in Australia, he’s obviously very motivated and very comfortable. He’s going to be a danger to beat anybody that he plays whenever he plays like that. I think that it’s nothing new, though, for him. He knows that and he knows he has the level.”
Kyrgios showed his mettle during the week in coming from a set down to beat Aussie compatriot Matthew Ebden, then Alexandr Dolgopolov, then Dimitrov in the semis.
The 25-year-old Harrison, who entered the tournament at No. 47 on the ATP rankings, fell to 1-2 in career finals after attempting to add to his Memphis crown in 2017.
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