‘Barely getting angry’: Nick Kyrgios quickly out in D.C.

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WASHINGTON — Nick Kyrgios’ last name is on a blue awning above the lower bowl of the Citi Open’s main stadium to commemorate his 2019 title at the hard-court tournament. On Tuesday night, as the reigning champion at an event canceled last year because of the pandemic, Kyrgios bowed out after two flat sets over 77 minutes.

Kyrgios offered up the occasional crowd-pleaser – an early underhand serve, for example – but otherwise did not look anything like the guy who was so good and so engaged at the U.S. Open tuneup two years ago, losing 6-4, 6-4 to Mackenzie McDonald in the first round.

“I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to feel. I just don’t feel as if I’m in the moment as I used to be, I guess,” Kyrgios said. “I feel like I actually enjoyed my tennis more when it was so up and down. Like you see me today – like, I’m losing and I’m barely getting angry. I actually miss the days when I was losing and I was carrying on and I was getting fined and I was throwing my rackets.”

That way of behaving, Kyrgios said, meant he cared a lot about the outcome. And now?

“Now I lose and I’m actually happy for the other guy,” he said. “Back then, I couldn’t stand the other guy.”

There wasn’t much of Kyrgios’ customary animation at all, even under the lights and with a mostly full arena in which spectators offered plenty of shouts of “Come on, Nick!”

“He’s honestly really good for our sport and he deserves all the support that he has,” McDonald said.

“He can play lights out. He can get the fans on his side. It’s never easy playing a guy like that, especially a night match,” the 107th-ranked McDonald said. “I’m happy with just how I controlled what I could control.”

Kyrgios wasted little time before points, often tossing the ball in the air with 19 or 20 seconds still on the 25-second serve clock, or during them, going for quick-strike shots early in exchanges and often missing the mark.

In a word, Kyrgios was blah. When it ended, he plopped himself down on his sideline seat and shook his head.

He has been ranked as high as 13th and is currently 77th. This was only his fourth tournament of the season; the Australian’s record fell to 7-5.

“Ultimately, like, I know I can’t be too hard on myself. I haven’t played a lot of matches or any of that type of stuff. … I played pretty average. My body feels pretty average,” Kyrgios said. “But he played well. He made enough returns. He played the big points well. He should be proud.”

Two years ago in Washington, Kyrgios was both entertaining – chatting with fans between points to ask where he should direct his booming serves – and effective, beating a couple of guys who have reached Grand Slam finals in 2021, Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals and Daniil Medvedev in the final.

McDonald, a 26-year-old Californian who played college tennis at UCLA, saved all five break points he faced Tuesday, including a pair while serving out the victory.

“I was lucky I came up with some good shots on those,” McDonald said.

He’ll next face No. 13 seed Benoit Paire.

Two younger Americans won earlier: Sebastian Korda, who is less than a month past his 21st birthday; Brandon Nakashima, who turned 20 on Tuesday.

The 12th-seeded Korda moved into the third round by beating Vasek Pospisil of Canada 7-5, 6-4. Wild-card entry Nakashima, the runner-up in his past two ATP appearances, defeated Alexei Popyrin of Australia 6-3, 6-3 in a first-round match.

Nakashima made it to the championship matches at Los Cabos – losing to Cameron Norrie last month – and Atlanta – losing to John Isner on Sunday – to become the youngest U.S. man to reach multiple tour finals since Andy Roddick made it to seven as a teenager from 2001-02.

Roddick would go on to reach No. 1 in the rankings and win the 2003 U.S. Open, the last Grand Slam title for an American man.

Dodig, Krajicek win French Open men’s doubles title, a year after squandering match points in final

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A year after squandering three match points in the final, fourth-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Austin Krajicek of the United States won the men’s doubles title at the French Open on Saturday by beating unseeded Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 6-4, 6-1.

Unlike last year’s tension-filled final, this one was never in doubt as the Croat-American duo broke the Belgians four times, saved all three break points they faced and wrapped up the win in 1 hour, 20 minutes.

It was the 38-year-old Dodig’s third major title in men’s doubles, after winning here in 2015 and at the Australian Open in 2021 – with different partners. But it was a first Grand Slam trophy for the 32-year-old Krajicek, a former top-100 ranked singles player.

Gille and Vliegen were playing together in their first major final.

Last year, Dodig and Krajicek lost to Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer after having three championship points in the second set.

At French Open, Francisco Cerundolo is mad at chair umpire over Holger Rune’s double-bounce

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PARIS – Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina was devastated about losing his French Open fourth-round match to Holger Rune of Denmark in a fifth-set tiebreaker Monday. He also was mad at chair umpire Kader Nouni for missing a double-bounce of the ball on a point that was awarded to Rune early in his 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) victory.

They were tied at a set apiece and on serve at 2-1 for the No. 6-seeded Rune early in the third at Court Suzanne Lenglen when the point of contention happened. Cerundolo, who was serving at deuce, hit a forehand that skidded low at the baseline and quickly bounced a second time – which normally would have meant that the point was his.

But Rune went ahead and got his racket on the ball, sending it back over the net. At about the same time, No. 23 seed Cerundolo was saying “sorry” to apologize for the odd way his forehand made the ball skim across the clay. Nouni was not immediately aware of the double-bounce, thought the ball was still in play and called Cerundolo for hindrance for talking during a point. That meant Rune got the point, and when he won the next one, too, he had a service break.

“It was unbelievable, because it was a clear double-bounce. I was mad at the umpire because he has to see it,” Cerundolo said. “It’s his fault.”

In tennis, electronic line-calling is used at many tournaments to make line calls, but replays are not used to check things like double-bounces or whether a point should be lost because a player touches the net, which is not allowed.

And while Cerundolo put the onus on the official, he also thought Rune could have ceded the point because of the double-bounce.

“For sure, I wish he would have done that, because it was a big moment,” Cerundolo said.

Rune, who moved into a matchup against No. 4 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals, said he saw a replay after the following point, and “saw it was a double bounce. But the point already happened, and he called the score. So I felt sorry.”

But, Rune added: “This is tennis. This is sports. Some umpires, they make mistakes. Some for me; some for him. That’s life.”