Nick Kyrgios loves playing Miami. The Australian has never failed to reach the fourth round in Florida, and tonight he won his opener getting past Adrian Mannarino 7-6(3), 6-3.
Kyrgios fired 12 aces, never dropped his serve and never was in any sort of trouble against the 33-year-old lefty.
“That first-serve percentage was key tonight,” Kyrgios said. “If I miss my first serve, he’s going to be on the front foot from the early jump, and I couldn’t afford to do that tonight against such a tricky opponent.
“The conditions tonight just did not help me at all,” he added. “I felt like I wasn’t able to get him out of his comfort zone from the ground.”
Kyrgios will move ahead to a big second round collision against Andrey Rublev likely on Friday. The two have split two prior meetings.
“I grew up with him, I’ve seen him play. He’s a hell of a player,” said Kyrgios. “Obviously we all know what he’s capable of and I’m going into that match as a complete underdog.
“But I feel confident. If I’m serving well and playing well form the back I can beat anyone, and everyone knows that. I’m excited.”
Kyrgios’s best mate Thanasi Kokkinakis continued his terrific 2022 campaign downing Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2.
Americans Brandon Nakashima, Mackenzie McDonald and Denis Kudla also advanced. Kudla just won the Phoenix Challenger on Sunday, then took a red eye to Miami for qualifying, got through and won his opener today.
Tomorrow, the first round wraps up with 2-time champion Andy Murray making his return against Federico Delbonis. The Argentine won their only meeting at 2016 Indian Wells.
Young American stars Sebastian Korda and Jenson Brooksby will also be featured. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is also scheduled.
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