Red-hot Nick Kyrgios continued his tennis rejuvenation as he overcame Andrey Rublev and an issue with his left knee to ease into round three at the Miami Open.
The Australian wild card tore through the world number seven’s second serve and once again showcased his power and shot-making ability to claim an emphatic 6-3 6-0 victory in just 52 minutes.
Reflecting on the rapid win, Kyrgios said: "He came out hot at the start, but you know tennis can switch momentum with a couple of points and once I got that double break I started seeing the return really well.
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"I’ve been returning really well the last couple of months. When that’s happening and I’m serving the way I am and feeling this way, my shoulders opened up and I ran with it.
I’m happy with my performance. Whether it’s a player in the top 10, 20 or 1000 I don’t care. I can lose to anyone on any given day and I can beat anyone – that’s been the story of my career. I’m just happy to get through.
Kyrgios will now face another temperamental star in the shape of Fabio Fognini and he is expecting an exciting battle.
"He's a hell of a player," he added. "I've played him once before. We know what he's capable of. I'm just going to go out there and have some fun."
Rublev, a two-time Masters 1000 finalist, had been hoping to kick-start his own excellent run having seen a 13-match winning streak ended in the semi finals at Indian Wells.
The Russian looked to be in the groove too when he picked up a drop shot and clipped the line with a sumptuous forehand pass to break for a 2-1 lead.
However, some second serve woes that would go on to completely undermine his performance gave Kyrgios an immediate break back.
The Aussie, ranked at 102 in the world, seemed to be struggling with a left knee problem he sustained against Adrian Mannarino and that appeared to give him more trouble than Rublev who barely made an impact as Kyrgios won 11 of the next 12 games to cruise through.
The shell-shocked Rublev was given a warning for smashing a racquet in frustration and although he showed some fight as Kyrgios served for the match, he could not deny the wild card from claiming the 23rd top 10 win of his career on a fourth match point.
Meanwhile, number two seed Alexander Zverev got back to winning ways with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 round-two success over Croatia’s Borna Coric.
The Olympic champion has endured a difficult spell since being thrown out of the Mexican Open for attacking an umpire’s chair with his racquet and dropped down to number four in the world following his surprise round two loss to Tommy Paul at Indian Wells.
The 24-year-old is looking for more positive headlines in Florida and edged an even opening set when a brief lapse from Coric allowed Zverev to nail a forehand winner to break for a 5-4 lead before serving it out.
Coric, who secured his first tour-level win in over 12 months when he ousted Fernando Verdasco in round one, responded in style and showed no signs of any rust from the injury that kept him out for the majority of last season.
The 25-year-old Croatian broke in Game 2 of the second set and never looked in trouble as he threatened to add more woes to Zverev’s 2022 campaign.
However, Zverev hit back in style with another rasping forehand claiming a break that helped him take an early 3-0 lead in the decider.
Coric threatened a twist right at the death but despite some second serve wobbles, the German saved break back point before serving out the match from deuce in exactly two hours.
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22/06/2022 AT 13:26