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Kyrgios serves up a show to down Tsitsipas

August 04, 2019 10:25 IST

Nick Kyrgios

IMAGE: Australia's Nick Kyrgios gestures towards his box after his men's singles semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, at the 2019 Citi Open, in Washington DC, on Saturday. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The first meeting between Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas lived up to the hype on Saturday as the Australian saved a match point in a wildly entertaining 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7) win to reach the Citi Open final.

 

The big-serving Australian will face Daniil Medvedev for the trophy on Sunday after the Russian cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Peter Gojowczyk in the late match.

The mercurial Kyrgios put on a show for the sold-out crowd, fist bumping with fans during the first set, smashing his racket in the second and mixing in tweeners, underhand serves and slick no-look volleys throughout.

Kyrgios appeared in control when he raced out to a 5-1 lead in the third set tiebreaker with a blistering cross-court forehand but Tsitsipas battled back to get to a match point.

The young Greek's backhand return sailed long, however, and when Kyrgios earned a match point of his own he consulted with a fan prior to his serve for the second night in a row.

The spectator appeared to advise him to aim for the top seed's backhand and Kyrgios did just that.

Tsitsipas could only block the rocket back, setting up an easy forehand winner that ended the match on a hot and humid night in the U.S. capital.

"I just go there and I ask them where they want me to serve. And it's two-for-two," Kyrgios said.

The match statistics were remarkably even, with Kyrgios winning 91 points to Tsitsipas' 90 and each player breaking the other's serve twice.

"In the first set I was playing pretty clinical tennis, playing really well," he said. "I obviously went a bit nuts (in the second) and somehow was able to pull in back in the third set."

Kyrgios had nothing but kind words for his doubles partner Tsitsipas, who will reach a career high of world number five on Monday.

"He's the perfect example for any tennis player," Kyrgios said. "His consistency shows every week. He's doing all the right things and he's going to have an amazing career."

Third-seeded Medvedev put on a serving clinic to quickly dispatch lucky loser Gojowczyk in their semi-final meeting.

The 23-year-old from Moscow will be look to even scores in the final with Kyrgios, who defeated him in three sets in their only previous meeting at the Italian Open in May.

Thiem beats Ramos-Vinolas to win first title on home soil in Kitzbuehel

Austria's world number four Dominic Thiem beat Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(0), 6-1 on Saturday to win the Kitzbuehel Open, his 14th ATP singles title and his first on home soil.

The 25-year-old top seed wrapped up the match in 98 minutes to clinch his third title of the year after wins in Indian Wells and Barcelona. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are the only other players to win three titles this year.

"It is absolutely incredible, one of my biggest dreams since I play tennis," Thiem, who did not drop a single set en route to winning his first title in Austria, said.

"There is no better thing for an athlete than having this kind of success in front of your home crowd."

Thiem became the first Austrian to win the Kitzbuehel title since former world number one Thomas Muster achieved the feat in 1993.

Ramos-Vinolas nearly broke Thiem when he was 2-1 up in the first set but the Austrian claycourt specialist saved five break points to hold serve in a marathon game.

An engrossing opening set went with serve until rain interrupted the match with Thiem serving to stay in the set at 5-4, forcing the players to head to the locker room as the covers came on.

However, Thiem held serve and, at 6-5, forced a tiebreak with an ace before the local favourite stepped up his game to win seven points in a row and take the first set, much to the delight of the 5,600-strong home crowd that roared its approval.

The one-sided tiebreak seemed to take the wind out of Ramos-Vinolas' sails. The 31-year-old, who won the Swiss Open last week, was playing his 18th match in less than a month.

Thiem stormed into an early 2-0 lead in the second set before breaking the Spaniard again to win five games in a row and eventually take the set in less than half an hour.

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