Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios stormed into the second round of the Japan Open on Tuesday, the bete noire of men’s tennis overpowering American Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-2.
A thumping backhand that nibbled the edge of the line secured the crucial break for Kyrgios at the business end of the first set before the sixth seed powered through the second with the minimum of fuss.
“I definitely served well,” Kyrgios told reporters after setting up a clash with Czech veteran Radek Stepanek. “I guess it gets me out of a bit of trouble when I’m not feeling so great or I’m not into it that much.”
Second seed Gael Monfils took even less time to advance, the Frenchman pummelling Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-1 but Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic, seeded seventh, struggled to overcome Argentina’s Federico del Bonis 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.
Gilles Simon was another French winner, beating Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 while fifth-seeded Belgian David Goffin saw off Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 6-2.
In other matches, Czech Jiri Vesely ousted South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in a 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 victory as Argentine Juan Monaco beat Taylor Fritz of the United States in two tiebreak sets.
Eight seed Feliciano Lopez retired with injury as the Spaniard trailed Australia’s James Duckworth 6-7, 7-6, 4-2 but Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis safely negotiated his first hurdle by beating Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori is favourite to win his third Japan Open title after US Open champion and Tokyo title holder Stan Wawrinka pulled out of the tournament with back trouble.
© 2016 AFP
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