Read & Watch: Kyrgios Sets Personal Ace Record In First-Round Win
Nick Kyrgios has always proven to have a prowess on grass, becoming the first player to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon on his debut (2014) since Florian Mayer in 2004. Beating Rafael Nadal along the way made the feat that much more impressive, setting a personal record of 37 aces in that victory that had stood ever since.
Until Tuesday, that is. Kyrgios got his campaign off to a good start, hitting a new personal-best 42 aces to beat Uzbek Denis Istomin 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-3.
"I was a bit nervous going out there today. It was a tough match, but I was expecting it to be tough from the start," Kyrgios said. "I knew he was going to come out pretty confident. I thought he played well."
The No. 15 seed continues a hot streak in the aces department. Just two weeks ago at the Fever-Tree Championships, Kyrgios became the first player to hit 30 or more aces in back-to-back best-of-three-set matches since Ivan Ljubicic in Lyon in 2007, hitting 32 of them in both the second round and the quarter-finals. The 32 aces he hit in a straight-sets quarter-final victory against Feliciano Lopez was one off from John Isner’s record (33) for the most aces in two sets (2015 Atlanta) since the ATP World Tour began tracking aces in 1991.
But Kyrgios is doing more than just serving well — his whole game has rounded into form. This year's Brisbane International presented by Suncorp champion is fresh off semi-final runs at the MercedesCup and the Fever-Tree Championships. In Stuttgart, the 23-year-old led eventual champion Roger Federer by a mini-break in the final-set tie-break before falling. And at The Queen’s Club, he lost two tie-breaks against the player who went on to win there, Marin Cilic.
So it is no surprise that Kyrgios advances to the second round, where he will face Dutchman Robin Haase, who beat Romanian Marius Copil 7-6(0), 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(4). He is already a step ahead of last year, as Kyrgios retired while down two sets in his opening-round match due to a left hip injury.
"[He's] savvy, an old guy who knows how to win tennis matches. Great forehand. Obviously can play on the grass. I've seen him play a lot. He's going to be tough," Kyrgios said of Haase. "Beat Copil today, which isn't easy. Copil has a really good serve. I know it's going to be tough."
On Tuesday, he was not broken, while breaking Istomin for the first time in the match in the Uzbek’s final service game, before closing it out on his own serve. Kyrgios won 83 per cent of first-serve points while also landing 73 per cent of his first deliveries.
Another talented Aussie, lucky loser Bernard Tomic, defeated fellow lucky loser Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(2) to advance to the second round at Wimbledon for the sixth time. The 25-year-old advanced to the quarter-finals at the All England Club seven years ago, becoming the youngest player since Boris Becker in 1986 to do so. Tomic next faces Kei Nishikori.
Did You Know?
Kyrgios is now 6-1 win hitting 30 or more aces in a match.
|42||2018 Wimbledon||R1||def. Denis Istomin|
|37||2014 Wimbledon||R16||def. Rafael Nadal|
|36||2018 Australian Open||R16||l. to Grigor Dimitrov|
|34||2015 Wimbledon||R3||def. Milos Raonic|
|34||2014 Australian Open||R1||def. Benjamin Becker|
|32||2018 Fever-Tree Championships||QF||def. Feliciano Lopez|
|32||2018 Fever-Tree Championships||R2||def. Kyle Edmund|