Nick Kyrgios is rapidly becoming the man to watch on the tennis circuit, but his own behaviour on-court almost cut-short his run at the US Open.
The Australian teenager had a breakthrough earlier this summer when he shocked 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. His all-action style and hard hitting has led many to tip Kyrgios as a future star.
First round win
He showed once again in the first round at Flushing Meadows that he has the quality to match the hype after beating 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny, but he may well need to work on his attitude.
The world no.60 displayed his ability to dismantle his opponents with a lethal serve - he hit 26 aces - and Youzhny is certainly no pushover; the Russian is a two-time semi-finalist in New York.
However Kyrgios nearly undid his own stellar performance - a 7-5 7-6 2-6 7-6 win - with a number of on-court violations related to his language and aggression.
The umpire issued two warnings, and then docked the 19-year-old a game for racking up a third violation. One more would have seen Kyrgios disqualified and therefore eliminated from the Grand Slam before even having a chance of jumping the first hurdle.
Nobody has been defaulted from a tournament since Jeff Tarango at Wimbledon 19 years ago. It would've been an unpleasant record to break.
Luckily Kyrgios was able to keep his emotions in check as he took the match in the fourth set courtesy of a comprehensive tie-break (7-1). Experienced Italian Andreas Seppi lies in wait in round two after the world no.48 comfortably routed Serhiy Stakhovsky in straight sets.
Kyrgios must know, however, that he may need to throw cold water on his burning desire to win in order to remain on-side with the officials.
“I guess it was just heat-of-the-moment stuff,” Kyrgios said following the match. “I was frustrated the way I was playing and it was just an outburst. Hopefully I will be able to control that the next time I play.”
Part of the issue may be sourced from an increase of expectations for the talented youngster; inevitable after his displays at SW19.
The Canberra-born star still has a lot to learn, this is only his second time at the US Open after all, and the win over Youzhny was his first in the tournament after David Ferrer defeated him as a qualifier last year.
“Yeah, it’s gone up a bit," he said of any added pressure. "I’m probably expecting a lot out of myself at these sort of tournaments. I have to know I’m still young and it’s a long journey. I have to just be patient. I think it’s good to have high expectations, as well.
“I have been an emotional player most of my career. Maybe I will be able to manage it in the future. It’s a work in progress. It’s something that’s always been there.”
There were no major shocks on day one at Flushing Meadows. World no.1 Novak Djokovic sailed through and he was joined in the second round by the likes of Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
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