NEW YORK: Australian Nick Kyrgios overcame his despair at seeing dear friend Thanasi Kokkinakis on the other side of the net on Monday, outclassing his compatriot 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the first round of the US Open.
The doubles partners won together at the Australian Open but landed on opposite sides at the year’s final major, where an in-form Kyrgios kept his sublime year on track, never facing a break at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the battle of the “Special Ks.”
“It was a nightmare, honestly, we never want to play each other,” Kyrgios said in an on-court interview. “I can’t wait to get out there and play doubles with him on the right side of the net.”
The Wimbledon finalist bounced out of the first round last year but took care of business in just a little over two hours this time around, leaping into the air to smash an overhead volley to seal a largely routine first set after breaking Kokkinakis in the penultimate game.
Kyrgios broke Kokkinakis to love to open the second set, firing off 14 winners – twice as many as his opponent – in a relatively pristine display.
Not willing to go down without a fight, the unseeded Kokkinakis whacked across 10 aces in the final set but was simply no match for the superb Kyrgios, who dropped only two of his first-serve points.
“We just know each other’s game like the back of our hand,” said Kyrgios, who swept the final three points of the tiebreak. “I’m just really happy to move forward.”