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Watch highlights as Nick Kyrgios puts on a show and advances to the MercedesCup quarter-finals on Thursday in Stuttgart. Video: MercedesCup. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour.

Kyrgios Wins On Tour Return, Now Plays Lopez In Stuttgart

Lopez overcomes Simon, saving one set point in first set

Nick Kyrgios came through his first singles match for two months on Thursday for a place in the MercedesCup quarter-finals. The fourth-seeded Australian defeated Maximilian Marterer, fresh from a fourth-round appearance at Roland Garros, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in 87 minutes.

Returning from a right elbow injury, Kyrgios grew in confidence as the match progressed and won 80 per cent of his first-service points and hit 20 aces to Marterer’s 18 aces.

When Marterer was serving at 2-3, Ad-In, in the third set, the German put Kyrgios in an awkward spot, and the Australian responded by casually hitting a forward-facing tweener passing shot for a winner. Marterer then missed a forehand approach at Deuce and on break point he hit a routine volley into the net.

Kyrgios, who had last played a singles match on 13 April against Ivo Karlovic in the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship quarter-finals, now goes on to challenge eighth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for the fourth time. Lopez leads 2-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and won their last clash at 2016 Wimbledon in the fourth round.

Lopez

Earlier in the day, serve-and-volleyer Lopez beat Gilles Simon 7-6(6), 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes. Lopez, who hit 16 aces, recovered from a 1-3 deficit in the first set and saved one set point at 5/6 in the tie-break. He also beat Simon at the tournament last year en route to the final (l. to Pouille).

"I think the way I played was good overall," Lopez said. "This is very important for me, to have weeks on grass. It's a very unique surface. You play only two, three weeks a year... it's so important to get matches, to get hours on the grass and [you get more] when you win."

The 36-year-old Lopez has a 3-2 record in ATP World Tour grass-court finals, which includes the 2017 Fever-Tree Championships – his first 500-level tournament crown (6-11 finals record).

Elsewhere, Guido Pella will play top-seeded Swiss Roger Federer on Friday after the Argentine beat Prajnesh Gunneswaran 7-6(4), 6-3 in the second round.

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