He was slow out of the blocks in his second-round match against Kamil Majchrzak at the Japan Open, but Nick Kyrgios always had the confidence that he would end up victorious.
Fifth seed Kyrgios made a sluggish start on Thursday as he was broken in the second game of the match and lost the 27-minute opening set 6-3. However, he regained his composure and broke twice in the next two sets to secure a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over the world No 121 in under 90 minutes under a closed roof at the Ariake Coliseum.
“Towards the end, I played lights out. I forgot really how fast this court is and how big you can play on it,” he said during his post-match interview with TennisTV.
“I just started to play the right way in the second and third set. I tried to play more aggressively. Serve through the court instead of trying to pick my spots. He’s a tough player. He doesn’t mind a fast serve and his backhand is very good. I’m just happy to get through.”
There was no doubt in his mind that he would get the win as he remains on a high and full of confidence following his run to the final at Wimbledon and the quarter-final of the US Open this year.
Kyrgios comes through in Tokyo!
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 6, 2022
“Losing the first set, there was never really a doubt in my mind that I was going to win the match,” the Australian said after his win. “I just had to get back to doing what I do well — that’s playing quick and aggressive tennis.
“I’ve got really good confidence in my game right now, so I don’t really doubt myself even when I’m down a set. I think playing Grand Slams and going far in Grand Slams has given me that confidence that even if I lose a set I’m still able to maintain and increase my level in the match.”
Kyrgios biggest weapon has always been his serve and he hit 22 aces against Pole and won 36 of 43 points on his first serve.
He added: “I’ve been serving well all year,” he said. “I know if I’m serving the way I can serve, I shouldn’t be getting broken.”
Up next is either third seed Taylor Fritz or Japan’s Hiroki Moriya for a place in the semi-final.
“Fritz is obviously an incredible player. He’s had a great year,” Kyrgios said. “He plays very aggressive, has a great serve and is very dangerous off both wings.
“Moriya is going be the home favourite and the Japanese crowd is going to get behind him. Either way, it’s going to be a tough match.”
In the top half of the draw, fourth seed Frances Tiafoe advanced with a confident 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) win over Bernabe Zapata Miralles from Spain.
It was the American’s 13th consecutive tie-break win as he backed up his run to the US Open semi-final and success at the Laver Cup with another last-eight spot.
“I think handling those big moments, tie-breaks and stuff like that, [the key is] focussing on what you can focus on and just playing to win, playing aggressive,” Tiafoe said. “I have a lot of shots in the book, so I’m trying to make the match on my terms and have that belief.”
He will take on unseeded Miomir Kecmanovic for a place in the last four after the Serbian saved six match points to defeat eighth seed Dan Evans 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4).
“That was the first time that I was able to do that,” Kecmanovic said.
“I was completely tuned out of the match and I just went for it in that moment.”
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