Kyr­gios, Tomic set to col­lide

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - LEO SCHLINK PAUL MALONE

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.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.