Australian Open: Nick Kyrgios advances to second round to face Daniil Medvedev

Kyrgios returned to the combustible John Cain Arena on Sunday after emerging from isolation and giving rowdy fans a night to remember.

Nick Kyrgios in a file photo (Twitter: @NickKyrgios)

After recuperating from his own infection, Nick Kyrgios promised COVID-weary fans a good performance, which he certainly provided on Tuesday with a tweener-laden 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 triumph against Briton Liam Broady to go to the Australian Open second round. Kyrgios’ matches are box office gold, but their popularity has waned as a result of the pandemic, and there was a risk that home fans would miss him at Melbourne Park this year after he tested positive in the lead-up. The tennis maverick returned to the combustible John Cain Arena on Sunday after emerging from isolation and giving rowdy fans a night to remember as he set up a blockbuster match with second seed Daniil Medvedev.

Kyrgios fired a “F-bomb” in his broadcast on-court interview and imitated Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature post-goal celebration after sealing the win with a fierce backhand return down the line. He drank a gulp of beer from a cup handed by a supporter as he exited the venue. COVID-19, you’re on your own.

“I served … well today,” said Kyrgios. “I don’t know what I have done to this crowd as you guys are a zoo now. I am super happy to be here again.”

Broady upset

By breaking Broady in the first game, Kyrgios ignited the crowd in a matter of minutes. With an under-arm tweener, he finished the next game. Kyrgios was unable to put out the fire in the crowd, as supporters hooted between serves and called at Broady to go home.

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“I kind of know I’ve created this … show, anyway,” he said to chair umpire Nico Helwerth, urging the German to do more to quell the commotion.

Broady, the 128th-ranked qualifier, was relegated to the straight man in Kyrgios’ act, with no choice but to smile and bear it as fans jeered and 41 winners flew past him. “Everyone is telling me, like, ‘Oh you’ll really enjoy it. It’s going to be amazing’. But I thought it was absolutely awful,” said Broady.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever walked onto a tennis court and been booed, which for me was a crazy experience.”

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