Still wearing his tennis whites – at least his shirt and cap – Kyrgios rolled past Marco Giron 6-3, 6-2 in just under an hour. The Aussie was in a different class as he settled into the evening’s session match, securing an early break point before dominating 3-3 in the opening set.
“I came out a bit slow, obviously very different conditions Wimbledonsaid Kyrgios, who later admitted it had taken a long time to come to terms with his four-set final defeat Novak Djokovic. “I think it was just a little bit nervous too. I won the 2019 tournament. To see my name in the stadium and then to know that I didn’t play well at all here last year – I lost the first round and it was fair to go through such a dark time in my life.
“I’m just so happy to be here with my team, the love and support of the crowd. I’m just really happy to be playing good tennis out here again.”
Kyrgios finished the game with 12 aces and an 82 percent win percentage (28/34) on first serve, along with a couple of tweeners. He also revived the tradition that served him well during his 2019 Washington title run of asking a front-row fan where to serve at match point.
Despite missing the target on the first serve and apologizing to the fan, Kyrgios fired off an unreturned second delivery to end the comfortable win.
The unseeded Aussie has improved to 9-0 in the opening rounds this season and 22-7 for the year. He will face the 14th seed next Thomas Paul in the American’s opening game at the ATP 500 event. Another home favorite – fourth seed Reilly Opelka – could wait in the third round.
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Kyrgios has advanced to the semifinals or better in four of his last five tournaments since April but is aiming for his first singles title in 2022. He has won two doubles titles with Countryman Thanasi KokkinakisIn the Australian Open and on Sunday in Atlanta, where a knee injury forced him to withdraw from singles competition.
“Having guys like Jack and Thanasi means these guys are much more than just friends to me,” added Kyrgios. “They know I would do anything for them. I was there for them and they were there for me. I can’t give these guys enough credit. My girlfriend, my physical therapist, my best friend… I can’t give these guys enough credit because I really wouldn’t be here without them.”