Preview: Red-Hot Nick Kyrgios Ready for Montreal Campaign | ATP Tour

Nick Kyrgios recently spoke of that “small window of opportunity” that comes with a deep run in week two at a major, that sudden locker room brag that you can win games before you’ve even stepped onto the court.

As the up-and-coming Canberran heads to the National Bank Open, he has the window wide open, sash and all.

At the age of 27 he was a Grand Slam finalist for the first time Wimbledon The runner-up plays the most inspired tennis of his career. In addition to his exploits at SW19, where he became the first unseeded competitor to reach the finals since Countryman Markus Philippoussis In 2003, he reached back-to-back semifinals in Houston, Stuttgart and Halle and clinched a three-year title doldrums with a 6-4, 6-3 win on Sunday Yoshihito Nishioka in Washington. He also became the first player in the tournament’s 53-year history to win the men’s singles and doubles (with jack sock) in the same week.

“I felt like I was by far one of the best players in the world this year,” said Kyrgios, who opened 2022 at No. 93 on the Pepperstone ATP rankings but has since jumped to No. 37. “I feel like I’ve really reinvented myself this year.”

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When the Montreal draw was released, all eyes were on a possible second-round convergence between Kyrgios and the reigning world No. 1 and defending champions Daniel Medvedev, who bagged a title of his own in Los Cabos last week. But for that to come to fruition, Kyrgios must first get past the promising Argentine youngster Sebastian Bass on Tuesday.

Kyrgios won their only previous encounter, a 6-4, 6-0 opener at Indian Wells earlier this year, but Baez, 21, has since hit a career high at No. 31 and clinched his first ATP title Estoril (def. Frances Tiafoe6-3, 6-2) and reaching the final in Bastad (left to fellow countryman Francisco Cerundolo7-6(4), 6-2).

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It’s already been a memorable summer for Brit Cameron Norriewho made it to his first major semi-final in July Wimbledonand reached the final of Los Cabos again as the defending champion (left against Medvedev, 7:5, 6:0). Now a spot off his career-best 10th, the former Texas Christian University standout will be looking to break new ground on Canadian soil, where he has yet to get past the second round.

Norrie will open his campaign when he takes on the talented 21-year-old Brandon Nakashima for the second time in a matter of weeks after beating the American 6-4, 6-2 in the round of 16 at Eastbourne to extend his ATP Head2Head advantage to 2-1.

Like Norrie, the former University of Virginia Nakashima star has broken new ground Wimbledon as he advanced to the fourth round of a major for the first time, followed by back-to-back quarterfinals in Atlanta and Los Cabos.

Almost a decade and a half has passed since the 13th seed Marin Cilic made his National Bank Open debut. The two-time quarterfinalist, 33, will open Borna Korik in an all-Croatian affair on Court 9. He’s a flawless 7-0 win over his compatriot, his last win coming in the second round of the same event in 2018. A Roland Garros Semifinalist Cilic returns to the pitch after sitting out Wimbledon because of Covid-19.

For the second year in a row at the National Bank Open in Canada Vasek Pospisil is found opposite Thomas Paul in the first round. The home favorites are hoping for revenge for the 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 defeat by the American in that encounter, their only other tour-level encounter.

With Canadian wildcard Alexis Galarneau will be matched against the 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria. American Frances Tiafoe and French Benjamin Bonzi will face off for the second time in 2022 after Tiafoe pulled off a narrow 7-5 7-5 7-6(5) win in the first round Roland Garros.

Other notable games on the schedule include: Gael Monfils vs. Pedro Martinezand Newport Masters Maxim Cressy vs. Aslan Karatsevas well as the continuation of the rain called Denis Shapovalov vs. Alex from Minaur Affair, stuck at 3/3 in the tiebreak of the second set. Originally scheduled for Monday, the highly anticipated match between Andy Murray and TaylorFritz will open the Night Session on Center Court.

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Even Matteo Berretini is surprised he hadn’t played for about five years after his ATP Tour debut National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.

“I’m really looking forward to playing my first game here,” said the 26-year-old Italian ahead of Tuesday’s opening game against the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. “I always joke with my team that I never had the chance to play here.”

Be careful with your desires. Beyond the 23rd place Carreno Busta lie potential encounters with the likes of Dane Holger Rune and maybe even countryman Jannik sinner.

“In a way you should expect that in a 1000 like this all the games are really tough,” said Berrettini, No. 14 on the Pepperstone ATP rankings. โ€œThe tricky part will be my first opponent. Pablo is a great player. It’s also a new tournament for me. Until you enter the square you don’t really feel the atmosphere and everything. I’m curious about it.”

Berrettini defeated Carreno Busta in their only encounter to date earlier this year in the round of 16 Australian Openwins, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-4.

It was not an easy year for Berrettini. After Indian Wells, he sustained an injury to his right hand that required surgery and forced him to retire from the clay court swing. Then, just as he was rediscovering his momentum – nine straight wins and back-to-back titles in Stuttgart and London – he tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out Wimbledon.

“I was starting to think it was like a prank or something, a joke, because I was feeling pretty good,” Berrettini said. “It was really tough… I was alone. I have been quarantined. There was no one to hug or watch a movie with. I was just in my room trying not to think about what was going to happen but thinking about the future.”

In the end, Berrettini says he used the time to recharge and mentally prepare for the North American hard-court summer.

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