Kyr­gios stuns Djokovic

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ACA­PULCO: Aus­tralia’s Nick Kyr­gios used a bar­rage of 25 aces to de­feat top-seeded No­vak Djokovic 7-6 (9), 7-5 on Thurs­day reach the semi-fi­nals of the Mex­i­can Open.

Kyr­gios blasted 16 aces in the first set to beat Djokovic in his first match against the sec­ondbest player in the world and will play against Amer­i­can Sam Quer­rey in one of the semi­fi­nals.

Spa­niard Rafael Nadal will face off against Croa­tia’s Marin Cilic in the other.

“It’s a big win,” Kyr­gios said. “I was a lit­tle bit ner­vous be­cause I’m sure the crowd was root­ing for No­vak. He’s one of the great­est play­ers of all time, but I’m play­ing with con­fi­dence. My serve is the best part of my game, and I had one of my best serv­ing matches tonight.”

Kyr­gios, the world’s 17thranked player, also de­feated Roger Fed­erer and Rafael Nadal the first time he played against them. The 21-year-old Aus­tralian beat Nadal in Wim­ble­don (2014) and Fed­erer in Madrid (2015).

Now Kyr­gios could face Nadal in the fi­nal if he man­ages to get past an in­spired Quer­rey, who’s hav­ing a great week in Mex­ico.

Quer­rey reached the semi-fi­nals in Aca­pulco for the sec­ond year in a row. In 2016, he lost to Thiem, but this time around, the Amer­i­can got the win in just 66 min­utes a day af­ter tak­ing down Bel­gian David Gof­fin, 11th in the ATP rank­ings.

Quer­rey ended Thiem’s sev­en­match win­ning streak.

“He is a big-serv­ing Amer­i­can, I played him be­fore, and I know what to ex­pect,” added Kyr­gios.

Ear­lier, Nadal ran his Mex­i­can Open win­ning streak to 13 matches, beat­ing Ja­pan’s Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka 7-6 (2), 6-3.

The tour­na­ment win­ner in 2005 and 2013, Nadal needed al­most two hours to fin­ish off Nish­ioka. The 30-year-old Span­ish star over­came a 4-2 deficit in the first set and got out of an 0-2 hole in the sec­ond.

Nadal will face third-seeded Marin Cilic of Croa­tia. Cilic ad­vanced when Amer­i­can Steve John­son with­drew be­cause of a right an­kle in­jury.

Nadal is play­ing in his first tour­na­ment since los­ing to Fed­erer in the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal.

John­son was in­jured in his match against his fel­low coun­try­man Ernesto Es­cobedo late on Wed­nes­day.

On the women’s side, top-seeded Mir­jana Lu­cic-Ba­roni of Croa­tia beat France’s Pauline Par­men­tier 6-2, 6-3. Mir­jana will face sev­enth-seeded Le­sia Tsurenko of Ukraine, a 6-3, 7-6 (5) win­ner over third-seeded Je­lena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Amer­i­can Christina McHale beat Puerto Rico’s Mon­ica Puig 6-2, 6-2. The fifth-seeded Christina, in her sec­ond straight semi­fi­nal round in Aca­pulco, will play sec­ond-seed Kristina Mlade­n­ovic of France. Kristina beat Bel­gium’s Kirsten Flip­kens 6-4, 6-3.

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