Nick Kyrgios taunted Rafael Nadal fans on his way to beating John Isner 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 in the Mexican open semi-final.
The Australian overcame hostility off the court to continue his best run of matches for over a year and reach his first ATP final since January 2018.
At 5-5 in the second set he appeared to ask the crowd: “Where are the Rafa fans at? Hey Rafa fans, where you at?”
“Let’s get a flight to Indian Wells,” Kyrgios continued, in reference to him knocking Nadal out of the tournament, in the round of 16.
The world No.72 was riled by the crowd and continued to wind them up, giving a thumbs down and cupping his hand to his ear as he closed out the second set.
This was the latest chapter in Kyrgios’ difficult relationship with the Mexican crowd as he previously clashed with fans in each round of the tournament.
In his match against Nadal he was warned by the umpire after telling fans to “shut up” during the match.
In the next round, he received a code violation against Wawrinka after producing another outburst when fans booed him for receiving treatment to a cut on his hand.
Despite the crowd’s hostility towards him, it seems that the 23-year-old has been feeding off the negative energy and is set for a return to the top 50 of the world rankings.
He hopes his good form will continue in the final against world number three Alexander Zverev, who came through his semi-final against Brit Cam Norrie 7-6 (7-0) 6-3.
“This is going to be an incredibly tough match,” Kyrgios added. “He’s an amazing player, very professional, ticks all the boxes.
“I grew up playing juniors with him, so I know him very well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”