Australian Open: Nick Kyrgios and Alexei Popyrin advance to second round at Melbourne Park

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Updated

January 21, 2020 10:57:24 PM

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Nick Kyrgios found few problems in reaching the second round of the Australian Open, with a direct clinical defeat by Lorenzo Sonego at the Melbourne Arena.

Key points:

  • Nick Kyrgios did not face a breaking point by defeating Lorenzo Sonego in three sets, while he shot 14 aces
  • Kyrgios could find world number one Rafael Nadal in the round of 16
  • Alexei Popyrin lost the opening set in a tiebreak, but only lost three games to win the next two

Kyrgios defeated Italian Sonego 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/1) in two hours and 13 minutes to take a step towards what would be a successful shock against Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals .

The Australian met Nadal for the last time in the exciting game of the second round of Wimbledon, that the Spaniard won in four tight sets.

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But Kyrgios still needs to pass 16th Russian Karen Khachanov before he can face a clash with world number one.

Earlier at Melbourne Arena, Kyrgios' compatriot Alexei Popyrin took advantage of the safe passage to the second round after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was forced to retire because of an injury.

Although Kyrgios produced a series of unforced errors (28) against Sonego, it was a measured performance for the 23rd seed.

His serve was dominant when it needed to be – he didn't give up on a single breaking point – and he fired 14 aces to provide a healthy contribution to the relief efforts he announced earlier this month.

Second day results (male draw)

  • Rafael Nadal (ESP, 1) def. Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-2, 6-3, 6-0
  • Daniil Medvedev (RUS, 4) def. Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
  • Dominic Thiem (AUT, 5) def. Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3, 7-5, 6-2
  • Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP, 9) def. Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-2, 6-2, 7-5
  • Gael Monfils (FRA, 10) def. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
  • Fabio Fognini (ITA, 12) def. Reilly Opelka (USA) 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (10/5)
  • Diego Schwartzman (ARG, 14) def. Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
  • Stan Wawrinka (SUI, 15) def. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4
  • Karen Khachanov (RUS, 16) def. Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3
  • Andrey Rublev (RUS, 19) def. Chris O & # 39; Connell (AUS) 6-3, 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
  • Ernests Gulbis (LAT) def. Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN, 20) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4

"I was excited to come here," said Kyrgios in an interview on the court.

"Obviously, it was a very exciting month for all of us, so I wanted to come here and make a good presentation. I was really excited."

The first set saw Kyrgios dig into his bag of tricks, with well-organized pitches, sliding forehands and an exciting backhand service, standing out among the highlights.

He was not afraid to approach the net when he placed Sonego behind the base line and sometimes forces the Italian to chase the ball while trying to play in the corners.

The turning point came when Kyrgios secured a double interval to jump to a 5-2 lead and, despite being 0-30 in the next game, he struggled to win the first set.

Kyrgios had no histrionism to manifest himself early, nor did he scold his entourage in the stands, while demonstrating an admirable sporting spirit by clapping his opponent's winners.

The emotional side of Kyrgios' behavior on the court began to appear in the second set, although he was never in danger of violating the parole conditions established by the ATP after his behavior at the Cincinnati Masters last August.

His muffled explosions did not affect his pace during his service games, and this was illustrated when he defeated three aces in a row to force a tie in the second set, which he won 7-3.

The third set also became a tiebreaker, but Kyrgios dictated terms early to close the game with minimal fuss.

& # 39; This is painful & # 39;

Popyrin, 20, led 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-1 when Tsonga called the doctor to treat a back injury, before the 2008 finalist decided not to continue in the first. match around.

Second day results (women's draw)

  • Karolina Pliskova (CZE, 2) def. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1, 7-5
  • Simona Halep (ROU, 4) def. Jen Brady (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-1
  • Elina Svitolina (UKR, 5) def. Katie Boulter 6-4, 7-5
  • Belinda Bencic (SUI, 6) def. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-3, 7-5
  • Kiki Bertens (NED, 9) def. Irina Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-1, 6-4
  • Madison Keys (USA, 10) def. Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-3, 6-1
  • Ons Jabeur (TUN) def. Johanna Konta (GBR, 12) 6-4, 6-2
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) def. Marketa Vondrousova (CZE, 15) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
  • Alison Riske (USA, 18) def. Yafan Wang (CHN) 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 6-3
  • Donna Vekic (CRO, 19) def. Maria Sharapova (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
  • Karolina Muchova (CZE, 20) def. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (10/7)

"This is painful," said Popyrin.

"I never felt that way after a game. He was my hero as a child. When he made the final here, I was in my room jumping around like a crazy kid.

"Watching him retire in this game is painful."

Popyrin, who occupies 96th place, played confidently against Tsonga in the first set, despite reaching 28th place in the tiebreak.

He retaliated convincingly to win the next two, although it was clear that Tsonga was in danger before calling for medical assistance.

Popyrin's flourishing serve was making his mark, with 12 aces in the game, while he registered 34 winners of his racket against Tsonga's 31.

The win gives Popyrin a great chance to match his race last year to the third round, which included a victory over French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

He will face French wildcard Hugo Gaston or Spanish Jaume Munar in the second round, but a potential showdown with fourth-placed Russian Daniil Medvedev awaits the third round.

Popyrin's victory followed wins for other Australians in the men's draw, John Millman, Jordan Thompson and Marc Polmans.

Australian wild card Alex Bolt, who did the third round last year alongside Popyrin, went from two sets to one to win in five against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 7-6 (7-1), 1-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4.

Ajla Tomljanovic's upset victory over 31st Latvian star Anastasija Sevastova early Tuesday saw her join world number one Ash Barty in the second round of the women's draw.

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First published

January 21, 2020 7:45:44 PM

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