Kyrgios, Tomic set to collide
NICK Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic will feature on the same stage at this week’s Kooyong Classic, raising the possibility of a landmark all-Australian clash between the pair.
Like Tomic, Kyrgios has decided to use the Classic as his final lead-up to the Australian Open in nine days.
Tomic and Kyrgios have never played each other at either ATP or grand slam level.
The controversial duo landed in the same section of last year’s French Open draw but an explosive first-round encounter fizzled when Kyrgios withdrew with elbow issues.
Tomic and Kyrgios will be joined this week at the former home of the Australian Open by world No.6 Kevin Anderson, US Open winner Marin Cilic and a string of quality internationals.
Kyrgios will continue his path to Melbourne Park after early defeat in the Brisbane International, where he was the defending champion.
He replaces injured Argentine Juan Martin del Potro at Kooyong.
“With del Potro withdrawing it created some room in our player field and then Nick was looking for some more match time to round out his AO preparation, so we were more than happy to oblige,” tournament director Peter Johnston said.
“We are looking forward to welcoming him down to Kooyong for the Classic, and hope it provides a springboard to a great 2019 Australian Open for him.”
The Kooyong Classic starts from 11am on Tuesday. US Open champion Naomi Osaka has scolded herself for “sulking’’ during her stunning exit from the Brisbane International yesterday.
Osaka walked disconsolately from Pat Rafter Arena after an upset 6-2, 6-4 semi-final loss to Lesia Tsurenko, an unseeded player she defeated on the way to glory in New York last September.
Osaka’s plans to go backto-back at Grand Slam events will have to reassessed and she admitted she was finding herself “nervous because people expect me to win’’ since she took a Grand Slam crown.
Tsurenko, 27, will bid to become the second Ukrainian to win the Brisbane women’s title in as many years when she plays today’s final against the winner of the second semifinal between 2017 Brisbane champion Karolina Pliskova and the unseeded Croatian, Donna Vekic.
“If I’m being frank I feel I had the worst attitude today,’’ Osaka, 21, said. “I was sulking a little bit.
“But then the ball wouldn’t go in, and then I would go back to being, like, childish.
“Last year I did a lot of that, and I’m trying to change it more, and I think I have, like towards the end of last year.
“I know people don’t like to watch someone so negative.’’
A subdued Osaka counted herself lucky her bad day happened before the Australian Open, which starts tomorrow week.
“I feel from today I have learnt what I can do to improve the situation,’’ she said.
Osaka, who will rise one place to No.4 in the rankings next week, said she was still to decide if she would top off her Australian Open lead-up by turning up at the Sydney International.
She is third seed at the event and drawn to play Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky in the first round.
The Japanese power hitter was unable to assert herself against the game style of Tsurenko, which includes an eagerness to volley rare in most of the top 40 women.
“I feel like I had no control over the ball,’’ said the Japanese, who made 26 unforced errors and had three service games broken.
Tsurenko will have a career-best ranking of No.24 even if she loses the final.
“She has such a great serve and I couldn’t find rhythm so it’s a really nice win for me,’’ Tsurenko said.
“I’m happy I was extremely aggressive today.’’