By Frank Pingue
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Nick Kyrgios’ eventful U.S. Open ended in the third round as Russian Andrey Rublev turned aside the fiery Australian 7-6(5) 7-6(5) 6-3 in a battle of big servers on Saturday.
Rublev looked up to the task from the start and proved to be unflappable under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights against Kyrgios, who complained to his team in the box several times about not being able to see.
The Australian seemed to have no issues with his vision on serve, however, at one point firing four consecutive aces in a 40-second game to force a first-set tiebreak. He saved two set points before sending a backhand just wide to lose the opener.
Kyrgios got his first two break point chances while leading 3-2 in the second set but Rublev beat them both back.
The pair remained on serve to bring up another tiebreak and while Kyrgios jumped out to a 4-0 lead Rublev took seven of the next eight points to snatch the set and grab control of the match.
The final set remained on serve until Rublev got the break he needed and immediately consolidated for a 5-2 lead that sent him on his way.
Kyrgios lost despite powering down 30 aces to Rublev’s 12 and winning almost 90% of his first-serve points while saving three of the four break points he faced.
After making headlines this week for both his comments and on-court behaviour, Kyrgios avoided controversy on Saturday but did shout “whistleblower” in the direction of a line judge who had gone to the chair umpire to report foul language.
Rublev will next face Italian Matteo Berrettini, who beat Australian Alexei Popyrin earlier on Saturday.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)