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Melbourne | Kyrgios keeps calm and carries on to victory

Melbourne | Kyrgios keeps calm and carries on to victory

It’s hard to put into words the atmosphere at the Hisense Arena last night when Nick Kyrgios arrived on court.

There just isn’t one big and worthy enough to describe it.

Maybe if you take Murray Mania at Wimbledon and times it by a hundred you might be somewhere close to what I witnessed last night.

Today I thought I played pretty solid. I served well. Thought I returned pretty good. Hit my forehand well, hit my backhand well. I'm still not playing as well as I would like to be at the moment. But I'm getting through, which is good. Nick Kyrgios

A home crowd singing The White Stripes Seven Nation Army, chanting “If you love Nick Kyrgios clap your hands” and of course after defeating Victor Troicki in straight sets 7-5 6-4 7-6(2) giving him a standing ovation.

Kyrgios is more than just an incredible athlete he’s the ultimate entertainer with the X-Factor as well.

He said: “It’s good to have the crowd behind me. Obviously when times get tough, you hit a good shot, the crowd get behind you, it’s a good feeling.

“They played a massive part in it today.”

A player with one of the best serves in the game – even if you hadn’t known that before you would have figured it out after this match against Troicki as he fired out ace after ace – 17 to be exact,  including some on his second serve – his first serve speed averaging a booming 134mph.

In fact apart from an unconverted match point at 5-3 up in the third that preceded a rare poor service game from the Australian, you pretty much got the sense that he was the dominant force from the outset and it was a matter of how and when, and not if he could book his spot in the third round.

Kyrgios said: “Today I thought I played pretty solid. I served well. Thought I returned pretty good. Hit my forehand well, hit my backhand well. I’m still not playing as well as I would like to be at the moment. But I’m getting through, which is good.

“When he broke back in the third set, I started freaking out a little bit. I knew he was confident he could come back from two sets to love down but I played a pretty good tie-break to get out of trouble.”

It was a match that saw the Australian’s composure face, and indeed pass with flying colours, a range of unusual tests.

Including such irritants as a fan trying to get a selfie video and shouting at the top of his voice just before he served, a helicopter hovering overhead for a prolonged period of time and a dodgy microphone and sound system.

And, after an apologetic Troicki accidentally struck chair umpire James Keothavong in the head with a ball, Keothavong lightheartedly admitted ‘it’s not my day is it?’

But Kyrgios kept calm and carried on to close it out in straight sets, even if there was an unscripted tie-break at the end of third, showing his maturity and professionalism on court despite the distractions.

He said: “There were lots of distractions going out there today more than just the microphone thing was tough to deal with.

“I think last year, the year before, I probably would have been probably still out on the court right now, could be losing that match. I feel like, yeah, obviously my game helped me in the tiebreaker. I played a pretty good level in the tiebreak.

Next up for Kyrgios is a third round meeting with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, a player who he looked up to while he was growing up.

On his next match he said: “It’s going to be fun, we played last year in Marseille. He beat me in a three-set battle but it was fun and obviously a guy I looked up to growing up.

“He made the final in 2008 – I think I was 12 – and I went to all of his practice sessions with a new ball. He signed it every day.

“I don’t know if he remembers but I didn’t miss one of his practice sessions.

“It was just the way he played his game, I liked his aggressive style of tennis. He had a big serve, a big forehand and he played an entertaining style of tennis.”

About The Author

Gemma-Louise Stevenson

Gemma is a journalist, presenter and commentator with specialisms in para-sport and tennis. She has been following the wheelchair tennis tour for a number of years now reporting from some of the major events, including Grand Slams, for various online, print and broadcast outlets, including the BBC. Gemma has also been commissioned to write a number of books on the sport. It is her ultimate ambition to see the wheelchair, VI, deaf and learning disability versions of the game reported equally and alongside the ATP and WTA tours and to be part of the group of journalists that helps to make that happen. Follow her on Twitter @gstevensonsport

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