Kyrgios beats Goffin to take Japan Open
Australian power-hitter Nick Kyrgios fired an incredible 25 aces yesterday to win the Japan Open, pounding Belgium’s David Goffin 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Kyrgios rocketed serves clocking in at more than 220 kilometres (136 miles) per hour in quick succession, giving Goffin little time to regain his rhythm. Goffin used his quick footwork and long rallies to put pressure on his opponent, but Kyrgios’ fearsome serves in the end overwhelmed the world’s number 14.
The Australian, ranked 15 in the world, also showed off some sharp ground strokes and saved 11 of 12 break points to lift the trophy in two hours. “I think my serves are what got me out of trouble,” Kyrgios said. “David makes you feel like the court is small. It was a tough match.” Goffin managed to take the upper hand early in the match by hitting deep, angled returns to make his opponent run while winning long rallies with some clever footwork.
But Kyrgios fired off superb serves from the start, escalating his big-serve offensives in the second set, landing 11 aces, followed by 10 more in the third. He also took risks to blast out sizzling shots even after faulting on first serves.
“His (Goffin’s) strength was returning. So I had to step up my serves a little bit especially in the second set,” Kyrgios said, adding that he also managed to improve his returns as the match progressed. Goffin said he attempted to play rallies and wait for Kyrgios to make mistakes, but faced an unending shower of cannon-like serves. “In the first set, he was not serving like he did in the second and third. I was on the ball in the first set,” Goffin said.
“I think, during the match, he had to serve well because I was doing rallies better,” he said.
“He served 215 (kilometres per hour) on the line with a lot of precision.
Even if you choose the right side, it’s tough to return,” Goffin added. Kyrgios grabbed his third trophy of the season, after many of his big-name rivals pulled out of the Tokyo tournament due to injuries. Defending champion and US Open winner Stan Wawrinka withdrew from the event due to back trouble, while home favourite Kei Nishikori, winner in 2014 and 2012, was unable to finish his second-round match Wednesday because of muscle strain.
Injuries also forced Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, Japan Open winner in 2013, to skip the tournament after receiving an invitation as a wildcard. — AFP
TOKYO: Australia’s Nick Kyrgios returns a shot against Belgium’s David Goffin during the men’s singles final at the ATP Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP