Temper tantrums, broken racquets and heated feuds with the umpires re-emerged, as Nick Kyrgios led Hale to a crushing victory over world No. 6 Stefanos Sitsipas.
His best win of the year at a Wimbledon tournament led by four of the top 10 male players in the world missing for injury and suspension, Kyrgios’ game was brilliant.
However, his sorcery with the racquet was the complete opposite of his restless behavior in points, with Aussie admitting that he was on the verge of giving up after the match.
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Despite the emotional rollercoaster, he was able to get off the set to knock out 5-7 6-2 6-4 in the second round of the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Germany.
The former Wimbledon quarter-finalist looked home on the grass but had to do it hard when he lost the opening set. Disappointment soon erupted when World No. 65 dropped his racket out of recognition, repeatedly hammering next to his court-side seat.
Chair umpire Timo Janzen violated a code for blow-ups to Aussie and then started a heated argument in the second set after he was punished for violating a sitseps survey.
Kyrgios waited for Sitsipas to serve according to Janjen, who did not sit well with the 27-year-old protester, took a seat and demanded to call the supervisor before returning to court.
The Australian Open doubles champion disputed the call, saying he was one of the fastest players on the tour, as well as the 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and his infamous time-management problem.
“It happens in every match. I’ve been waiting a long time for Rafa (Nadal),” he was heard to say.
Speaking after the match, Kyrgios said he was close to leaving but encouragement from his team helped him navigate various emotional moments.
“My team. My girlfriend, my physio, my best friend, my manager, they just put me in it, put me on the line,” Kyrgios said.
“Sometimes, I would feel like giving up, frustrated and stiff, but I don’t know, they somehow got me out of a hole.”
Kyrgios took the exception of the time violation call in the second set and said it was basically for show.
“The umpires, I don’t think they understand … everyone in the hall was waiting to see me and Steve play, they (the umpires) just want to be relevant,” he said.
“The match went well, the spectators were enjoying it – it was completely unnecessary.
“As you can see from the scoreboard, I focused pretty well. I lost the first set, and got my focus back and got it done.”
It was Kyrgios’ 24th win over a top-10 player – an impressive feat, especially since he has never been in the top 10 throughout his career, reaching his highest ranking when he reached 13th in the world in 2016.
He will next play Carreno Busta, who defeated in-form American Sebastian Corda 6-4 0-6 6-3.
World number one and top seed Daniel Medvedev beat David Goffin 6-3, 6-2, while defending champion Ugo Humbert lost to Hubert Hurcage 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.
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