In a huge shock, the languishing Nick Kyrgios rose up and stunned top seed Rafael Nadal 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(6) in the second round at Acapulco last night.
“It’s massive. I’ve struggled a lot this year, so to be able to put in a performance like that against the No. 1 seed is pretty special,” said Kyrgios. “The level of tennis I played today is a good test for my body, just the way I competed, I left it all out there.
“It’s a massive confidence boost for me.”
Kyrgios, who hadn’t beaten a Top 5 player in over a year and had just fell in three sets last week to Radu Albot in a lackluster Delray Beach effort, admitted afterward that due to food poisoning, he nearly didn’t play. But he played his best match in over a year and earned his third career win over Rafa.
Nadal looked in full control, cruising to an opening set win. Then Kyrgios needed a trainer visit early in the second. But the Australian rebounded, saved break points in a critical ninth game and eventually leveled the match in the breaker.
Another trainer visit to start the third didn’t deter Kyrgios who again lived on the edged, saving more break points. In the breaker, Nadal led 6-3 but never won another point as Kyrgios ripped the last five points to complete to win.
“I love going out and playing the big matches,” said Kyrgios. “It’s one of the best atmospheres that I’ve ever played in. You could tell the crowd was loving every minute of that match,” said Kyrgios. “That’s what we play for. To come to Acapulco, Centre Court, a packed crowd. They were never silent. They were cheering Rafa’s name, cheering my name. It’s a match I will never forget.”
Kyrgios will now clash with Stan Wawrinka who ousted Steve Johnson.
“It’s going to be incredibly tough. Another multiple Grand Slam champion who knows how to win matches,” said Kyrgios. “It looks like he’s coming into form again. His one-handed backhand is one of the best ever in the game, he’s a great competitor.“
John Isner and Alexander Zverev were also winners.
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