Nick Kyrgios up to usual antics at Wimbledon

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WIMBLEDON, England — Nick Kyrgios delivered an underhand serve on set point at Wimbledon on Tuesday. He hit a ‘tweener lob. He dived for a volley unnecessarily. He complained about someone’s camera he found too big … and someone’s talking he found too loud … and reporters’ questions he found too silly.

In other words: It was just an average day in the life of Kyrgios, one of the most talented, mercurial and – depending on the beholder – entertaining-slash-confounding tennis players there is. And now, after his this-way-and-that, up-and-down-and-sideways 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (10), 0-6, 6-1 victory over long-time pal Jordan Thompson in an all-Australian matchup, Kyrgios will take on Rafael Nadal in the second round Thursday.

“I mean, just because I’m different, I go about it a different way, it causes a stir,” Kyrgios said.

Kyrgios vs. Nadal is intriguing as can be.

First of all, Kyrgios, then just 19 years old, burst onto the scene at the All England Club in 2014 by beating Nadal to become the youngest man to eliminate the No. 1 player at a major tournament since 2005. Add to that a public spat involving Nadal, his uncle and Kyrgios in recent months, and get the popcorn ready.

“Not sure that me and Rafa could go down to the Dog & Fox and have a beer together,” Kyrgios said, referring to a nearby pub. “I don’t know him at all.”

Nadal’s immediate response when asked about the tiff?

“I’m too old for all this stuff,” the 33-year-old said after his 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win over qualifier Yuichi Sugita.

The Kyrgios Experience was in full effect Tuesday. He trailed 5-2 in the opening set and faced a pair of set points there, before coming back to grab that set. In the third set, he wasted seven chances to close it, before finally converting his eighth. Then, lead in hand, he went away for the 18-minute fourth set, outscored 24-5 in points. And for one final twist, he dominated the fifth set.

“There were a lot of ups and downs. Five sets of tennis against Nick – anything can happen out there,” said Thompson, who has known Kyrgios since they were 8 or 9 and is a frequent opponent in video games. “It’s tough. But everybody that plays him knows it’s going to be tough. He’s going to be in and out, and you’ve just got to keep your own concentration.”

Now that’s Nadal’s task.

QUERREY UPSETS THIEM

Sam Querrey’s best Grand Slam tournament is Wimbledon. That also happens to be Dominic Thiem’s worst major. So maybe it made perfect sense that Querrey, an American ranked 65th, would grab the last nine games and upset No. 5 seed Thiem 6-7 (4), 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-0 to make the French Open runner-up the third top-10 man already gone from the All England Club.

Querrey was one point from falling into a two-set deficit while serving down 5-4 in the second. But he saved the break point there, held, then took a lead by getting his initial break of the match to go up 4-3 in the third set.

“Especially against a big server like myself, it’s a little draining once you lose serve. Kind of took the wind out of his sails a little bit,” said Querrey, who ended the match with his 22nd ace.

Querrey’s only Grand Slam semifinal appearance came at the All England Club in 2017 after a victory over defending champion Andy Murray. A year before that, Querrey defeated defending champ Novak Djokovic on the way to the quarterfinals.

“This is probably,” Querrey said, “the Slam that I’m most comfortable at.”

Thiem, meanwhile, now has three first-round departures at the All England Club in six appearances. It is the only major where he has fewer than 10 career victories – and the only one where he has a losing record, 5-6.

“The clay-court season, it takes a lot out of me,” said Thiem, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the past two finals at Roland Garros.

Thiem joined No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas on the way out. They lost Monday.

“For that many guys to lose early … yeah, it’s just too many,” said Roger Federer, who dropped his first set of the fortnight but got past Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. “But I guess it happens.”

ISNER RETURNS

John Isner’s first Grand Slam match win of 2019 came in his first match anywhere in more than three months.

Returning from a stress fracture in his left foot that sidelined him since late March, the 2018 Wimbledon semifinalist easily eliminated Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (9) with the help of 29 aces.

“It was touch-and-go for a little bit whether I was going to play this tournament. So I was just happy to be back out there,” said Isner, the ninth-seeded American who lost in the first round of the Australian Open in January, then sat out the French Open in May. “If I didn’t win, as long as I walked off the court healthy, I would have been happy with that.”

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.