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US Open 2022: Kyrgios beats 'close friend' Kokkinakis, moves to second round

New York, Aug 30 (IANS) Australia’s Nick Kyrgios advanced to the second round of the US Open 2022 with a win over his close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, here.

The 23rd seed defeated Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach the second round. He will play Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi for a place in the third round.

“Probably one of the most uncomfortable matches I’ve played in my career. I feel like we both had a game plan. We know our games so well. From the get-go, I was trying to block out his body and just play the tennis ball,” Kyrgios said.

“I was really trying not to look at him at all. I felt like that kind of helped me,” he added.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios has shown the best form of his career in recent months, reaching the Wimbledon final, winning the Washington title and defeating World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in Montreal. He maintained that form inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night following Serena Williams’ match, earning his 200th tour-level win after two hours and one minute.

“To play one of probably my best friends after Serena’s possible last match, with record-breaking attendance, it’s insane. A night I’m never going to forget. My 200th win as well. A couple of accolades today. It was good,” the Australian said.

The seven-time ATP Tour titlist raced through the first two sets in just more than an hour, using his serve to dominate play. There were few long rallies in the match, with both men looking to dictate the action with their forehands.

Kokkinakis did not earn a breakpoint, but he made things interesting by holding from 0/40 in the third set and pushing the set to a tie-break. At 4/4, Kokkinakis just missed a forehand down the line wide, which proved a fatal mistake. Kyrgios won the next two points on his serve to clinch his victory.

Kyrgios’ next opponent, Bonzi, outlasted fellow Frenchman Ugo Humbert 7-6(1), 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2. It was the World No 50’s first main draw match at the US Open.

Both Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have enjoyed success as a doubles tandem this year, becoming known as the “Special Ks”. The friends won the Australian Open title together.

–IANS

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