By Frank Pingue
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Nick Kyrgios delivered heaps of brilliant shotmaking and a sprinkle of controversy in a 6-3 7-6(1) 6-4 win over American Steve Johnson on Tuesday that put the Australian into the second round of the U.S. Open.
Kyrgios was laser focussed for the first half of the match as he deployed a lethal mix of monster serves, stinging forehands and smart net play but nearly unravelled when he got agitated over a fan who interrupted his ball toss.
The Australian 28th seed was serving at 4-4 in the second set when a woman trying to get to her seat entered his line of sight during his serve, at which point an annoyed Kyrgios asked aloud if she was alright.
Kyrgios then looked to the chair umpire who said he could not have prevented the interruption because he did not see it since he was focussed on the players.
But a clearly perturbed Kyrgios was not happy with that explanation and following a verbal exchange was given a code violation warning for an audible obscenity.
Kyrgios, who has repeatedly gotten in trouble for on-court actions and is known for his short temper, did not let the incident affect his sublime play as he settled right back down to business.
The Australian blitzed Johnson in the second set tiebreak where he showed his lighter side when he broke into a little dance after chasing down a dropshot he sent back for a brilliant crosscourt winner and a commanding 6-0 cushion.
Johnson, who was being thoroughly outplayed, did manage to finally earn his first break to get to within 3-1 in the third set but Kyrgios relied on his massive serve to carry him over the finish line.
Up next for Kyrgios will be Frenchman Antoine Hoang, who beat Argentine Leonardo Mayer earlier on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)