WASHINGTON: Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios won in his first match since making his Grand Slam final debut, ripping American Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday at the ATP and WTA Washington Open.
The 27-year-old Australian fired 12 aces and saved the lone break point he faced to oust Giron in 59 minutes for a triumphant return at the US Open hardcourt tune-up.
After a 3-3 start, Kyrgios won nine of the last 11 games for the victory despite memories of a poor effort in a first-round exit last year during “a dark time in my life.”
“I just really wanted to force myself to have high energy and pull out a performance,” Kyrgios said. “My confidence was a bit low coming out just because just being on that court again. I got disgraced last year first round, and it was tough to stomach.
“I’m proud of my performance today. It wasn’t easy.”
World number 63 Kyrgios, whose most recent title came at Washington in 2019, booked a second-round match against US 14th seed Tommy Paul.
Kyrgios said he has struggled to move on after his Wimbledon final loss to Novak Djokovic last month.
“That match hurts,” Kyrgios said. “To have that opportunity and come up short wasn’t easy for me to stomach.
“It was hard. I feel like a Grand Slam final doesn’t come around so often for us normal players. That was like the golden opportunity.
“I’m doing all the right things to put myself in that position again. I don’t think we thought it was possible to contend for Grand Slams, but now it’s a genuine thing.”
A hearing in Australia on common assault charges against Kyrgios from a January 2021 incident had originally been scheduled for Tuesday but last month was moved to August 23, six days before the start of the US Open.
“I’ve got people in my corner and my team dealing with those things. They are out of my control,” Kyrgios said. “All I can do is just continue to work and keep my head down and do what I love to do every day.”
Top seed Andrey Rublev advanced to the third round by defeating Britain’s Jack Draper 6-4, 6-2.
World number eight Rublev dispatched the 81st-ranked English left-hander in 83 minutes without surrendering a break.
Rublev will play for a quarter-final berth Thursday against an American, either Jack Sock or Maxime Cressy.
Rublev, 24, seeks his fourth ATP title of the year and the 12th of his career after crowns at Marseille and Dubai in February and Belgrade in April.
Rublev, who wrote “No War Please” on a camera lens at Dubai, was among Russian players banned from Wimbledon because of his homeland’s military invasion of Ukraine.
“There’s nothing more important than to have peace and love all around the world,” Rublev said.
“I do believe that by being united and doing good things for the peace, if tennis will be example of it, maybe other sports will follow and maybe one day sport can be without politics.”
Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu, the 19-year-old British second seed, reached the second round by defeating American Louisa Chirico 6-4, 6-2.
World number 10 Raducanu won her first match since a second-round Wimbledon exit to book a last-16 match against Colombia’s María Camila Osorio.
American Mackenzie McDonald, the 2021 Washington runner-up, lost his opener 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, who meets Polish second seed Hubert Hurkacz next.