Nick Kyrgios finds form to down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and reach Australian Open fourth round

The temperature had dropped sharply because the center of the day, however the environment in a packed Rod Laver Arena was red-hot as Nick Kyrgios reached the fourth round of the Australian Open for the second time in his profession. The 22-year-old Australian’s 7-6, Four-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 runner-up, secured a Sunday showdown with Grigor Dimitrov, the world No Three and one of many favourites for the title.

Kyrgios, who has been a controversial determine for many of his profession, divides opinion among the many public Down Under, however what Australians love greater than anything is a winner. There have been indicators lately that the world No 17 has added maturity to his unquestioned expertise and he was a mannequin of composure on this victory over one in every of his boyhood idols.

Tsonga, who misplaced to Novak Djokovic within the 2008 remaining, has a superb document at Melbourne Park and was making an attempt to reach the fourth round right here for the ninth time in his profession. There have been instances when the 32-year-old Frenchman appeared to be getting the higher hand, however Kyrgios stored bouncing again and performed all three tie-breaks fantastically. He trailed 5-2 within the remaining tie-break however went on to win it 7-5.

“He’s a tough opponent,” Kyrgios mentioned of Tsonga. “He’s beaten pretty much all the top guys in the world. I knew it was going to be an incredibly tough match. I was very nervous going out there today. At 5-2 down in the fourth set breaker I was getting ready for a fifth set mentally. I somehow just hung in and got a couple of looks. It was surreal out there today.”

Kyrgios had performed his first two matches on Hisense Arena, which is his favorite court docket at Melbourne Park, however this was too large a contest to be staged anyplace apart from on the primary present court docket as the primary match of the night session.

“I’d never won a match on this court,” Kyrgios mentioned afterwards. “Playing Jo, I was obviously very nervous. He was a guy I looked up to as a kid – and still do. He’s a champion of the game. I was getting prepared for a fifth set. I just stayed composed, tried to make returns and fired it through.”

Kyrgios mentioned he had felt significantly tense as a result of the Hollywood star Will Smith was watching from the sidelines. “That was amazing,” Kyrgios mentioned. “No joke, he’s my favorite actor. I get requested if one particular person have been appearing your life, I’d at all times decide him.

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Kyrgios celebrates his victory over Tsonga (Getty)

“It was surreal seeing him tonight. I used to be speaking to him within the third set. I stored taking a look at him. I used to be like: ‘I’ve bought to break the ice, I’ve bought to say one thing.’ He was very nice. I met him after the match. He was actually real.

“Every time he got shown on the screen, they cheered louder for him than any of the shots we were making. I was like: ‘Man, you may as well just stay out here, they probably enjoy that more than the tennis.’ I said: ‘I watched a load of your movies a bunch of times.’ It was pretty cringe, but it broke the ice.”

Australia has not had a house winner within the males’s singles right here for 42 years and whereas it is likely to be too early to begin speaking about Kyrgios as a possible champion no one will relish taking him on when he’s enjoying like this.

Kyrgios beat Dimitrov, his fourth-round opponent, within the semi-finals in Brisbane earlier this month. The winner of their final 16 encounter right here will face both Kyle Edmund or Andreas Seppi within the quarter-finals.

Dimitrov, who ended final yr by profitable the ATP Finals on the O2 Arena in London, has been in patchy form within the opening weeks of the brand new season and was once more under his finest as he beat Russia’s Andrey Rublev 6-Three, Four-6, 6-Four, 6-Four.

The world No Three made 61 unforced errors within the match however normally discovered his approach out of a disaster.  “When you don’t feel well during the match, you need to find other courses to take,” he mentioned afterwards. “The mental game, especially on days like today, comes more in play than the game itself.”

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Kyrgios mentioned he felt significantly nervous with Will Smith watching from the sidelines (Getty)

He added: “I was not finding the angles that I wanted to, but when that fails you kind of go on to the next one. My serve, for example, failed me too. What are the other options? The one thing I’m very happy with is that I feel I have a big arsenal of tools to deal with any circumstances.”

Having been taken to 5 units by Mackenzie McDonald, an American qualifier, within the earlier round, Dimitrov will need to have been hoping to discover some extra constant form towards Rublev, however the 20-year-old Russian bought his sport collectively when he was a set and a break down. Rublev took the second set and went Four-2 up within the third, however Dimitrov broke again within the following sport and thereafter took cost.

Rafael Nadal, the highest seed, wanted solely an hour and 50 minutes to beat Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-Three, 6-1. The solely blip within the Spaniard’s efficiency got here when he dropped serve early within the second set however he was quickly again on monitor.

Nadal, who is thru to the fourth round for the 11th time in his profession, will now tackle Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

“He’s a great player,” Nadal mentioned. “He’s a participant that final yr had an incredible yr and this yr he’s once more began enjoying very properly. He’s already gained three matches right here, so he’s enjoying once more at a really excessive stage. He’s a really full participant.

“If I don’t play my best I probably won’t win. He has all the shots, has big control from the baseline and doesn’t miss much. He’s able to change directions easily.”

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Nick Kyrgios finds form to down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and reach Australian Open fourth round

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