Another week, another strong start for Nick Kyrgios in 2022.
The Australian improved his record in first-round matches this year to 11-0 with a 7-5, 6-4 win Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday in Cincinnati.
Kyrgios, who reached his only ATP Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati in 2017, struggled at times for consistency during his 90-minute win, but he clinically converted three out of four break points during his first ATP Head2Head duel against Davidovich Fokina.
“He’s a tricky player, he’s so talented, he has so many opportunities,” Kyrgios said after the game. “So I knew I just had to serve well and then dictate as much as I could. His backhand is incredible. It was a tricky match.”
That INSIGHTS Attack Statistics for the game show how much Kyrgios tried to stay in front of Davidovich Fokina during the rallies. The Aussie hit the ball from attacking positions 33 percent of the time, the third-highest in-attack rate of the tournament so far.
Kyrgios was on a nine-game winning streak before his defeat last week Hubert Hurkacz in the Quarterfinals of Montreal. The Aussie was happy to return to winning ways immediately despite having to make some adjustments in his first game in Cincinnati since 2019.
“The conditions here are very different than in Montreal,” said Kyrgios. “It’s livelier, it’s harder to put the ball in, but I reacted well and hit back well today. Hopefully I can keep going.”
After earning the only break of the first set in game 11 to progress, Kyrgios seemed to have all the momentum as he broke again in the first game of the second set. The Australian’s concentration was tested as the resilient Davidovich Fokina immediately struck back to make it 1-1, but Kyrgios responded with a quality return leg that included some searing shots from deep.
“You just have to keep pushing and keep trying,” Kyrgios said of his reaction after dropping serve. “I wasn’t feeling that good physically, a bit exhausted from everything, but I just played the big points well mentally. I was broken back, but I used that energy to push in returns and then force another pause. It’s not easy out here, so I’m happy with that.”
27-year-old Kyrgios won his seventh ATP Tour title in Washington nine days ago. The Aussie didn’t lose a single serve in the US capital this week and meets another player with a great performance in the second round in Cincinnati: eleventh place TaylorFritz. The American drove to a 6-1, 6-1 win over in the first round Sebastian Bass.