Washington (AFP) – As Nick Kyrgios toured a long list of people he wanted to thank on Sunday after ending a three-year drought by winning the title at the site of his latest victory, the City Open, the match stewards noted.
Then the runner-up at Wimbledon added with a knowing smile: “The relationship is still tense with the referees.”
Kyrgios extended the best streak of his career and put on another performance that would make him someone to take seriously at the US Open, saving his only stopping point in the final all the way to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Yoshihito Nishioka at the Citi Open.
“It’s very touching for me,” said Kyrgios, who fell on his back on the blue field when the match ended, and then spoke of what he called an “amazing transformation” of himself. Headed back to that court in the evening to team up with Jack Sock in the doubles final.
Earlier on Sunday, Lyudmila Samsonova won her second career WTA title by defeating sixth seed Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Citi Women’s Open final.
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Kyrgios’ seventh Tour Singles Championship placed him sixth in 2019 – on the hardcourt of the US capital at Flushing Meadows.
As usual when Kyrgios is in his game, serving was the lead: he fired 12 aces and won 22 of 25 serving points. He won all nine of his matches against Nishioka, making it 64 to 64 in the tournament, and concluded the week by saving all of his opponent’s 10 break points. The only player Kyrgios had to deal with on Sunday came 3-2 in the first set, and Kyrgios rejected it with a winning ball.
“I couldn’t figure out how to serve him,” said Nishioka, who ranked Kyrgios No. 1 on tour in that category, and also praised the 27-year-old Australian for being “more focused” than he has been in his career.
Kyrgios has successfully crushed Japan’s 96th seed Nishioka and eliminated top seed Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals, three times – in the opener of each set and again in the final match of the match.
This represented an unusual amount of consistency for Kyrgios, as he was knocked out of the race to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Kyrgios didn’t get any rating points for this show – no points were awarded to anyone at Wimbledon – but the singles title in Washington would push him from 63rd to 37th, within a screaming range of potential ratings at the US Open.
Playing in Flushing Meadows begins August 29th. It was less than a week after a court hearing in Australia for common assault allegations against Kyrgios.