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Kyrgios keeps it light to oust Sonego

Continuing his stellar summer form, Nick Kyrgios powered into the second round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego on Tuesday night.

The Australian, seeded 23rd at Melbourne Park, posted a 6-2 7-6(3) 7-6(1) win to set up a meeting with either Frenchman Gilles Simon or Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas.

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21 Jan 20
N. Kyrgios vs. L. Sonego - Match Highlights (2020 1st Round) | Australian Open 2020

Kyrgios has Sonego covered

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Kyrgios has now won four of his five matches in season 2020 – three of which came at the inaugural ATP Cup – and this purple patch has been driven in part due to a desire to raise funds for bushfire relief efforts in Australia.

MORE: All the results from Day 2 in Melbourne

The 24-year-old, credited for kick-starting the wave of fundraising support seen this summer by the tennis community, contributed another $2800 after slamming down 14 aces among his 37 winners for the evening.

“I was definitely really nervous walking out there. But, I mean, the crowd was unbelievable. I got comfortable quite early in the match. I played an unbelievable first set, which helped. I thought the pressure kind of eased off after I won that first set,” he said.

“I'm just playing for a lot more than myself. I guess it's just a perspective thing, isn't it? Why am I really getting mad on the tennis court with everything going on?

"I felt like I was very focused today. Every match I've played this year, I've been pretty good. It's probably because of everything going on.”

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Kyrgios was in his element at Melbourne Arena

It wasn’t all about power in this first-round masterclass.

This was Kyrgios at his finest, showing off his full repertoire of shots and playing with a calm intensity and purpose.

Before a huge crowd at Melbourne Arena, the magnetic talent was in a good groove early, breaking Sonego in the fifth game with a forehand drop-shot that the Italian poked wide.

It was the same shot Kyrgios had used to give Stefanos Tsitsipas fits during his thrilling win earlier this month over the Greek at the ATP Cup.

‘This is one of my favourite courts in the world – I always request to play here early on. I just feel super comfortable’
Nick Kyrgios

His return, often erratic, was also firing; taking Sonego’s serve early and aggressively, the Aussie broke again for a 5-2 lead and held in the next game, celebrating the first set with an understated fist-pump toward his entourage.

Sonego, jittery in the first set, settled in the second and third stanzas, but in the ensuing tiebreaks, Kyrgios was by far the more adventurous competitor, and was rewarded.

Another winning drop shot gave him a 3-1 lead, and he earned three set points at 6-3 after changing up a crosscourt backhand-to-backhand rally with a bullet down the line to draw an error. Another drop-shot extracted another error, and Kyrgios now led two sets to love.

Aside from a brief wobble in the fourth game of the third set – Kyrgios failed to convert break points and began muttering to himself as Sonego levelled at 2-2 – it unfolded with games again going on serve.

And in the tiebreak that followed, Sonego’s game disintegrated.

Kyrgios earned a mini-break when the world No.53’s forehand went long. That lead became 5-1 when Sonego double faulted. Another forehand flew long, earning Kyrgios a bundle of match points.

He converted on his first, roared in delight, and the crowd erupted.

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Kyrgios closed out the win with a clinical tiebreak

"I just wanted to come out here and put on a good performance. I was really excited. It was awesome,” Kyrgios said.

“This is one of my favourite courts in the world – I always request to play here early on. I just feel super comfortable.

“I play either Simon or Cuevas next. That's going to be a battle. I've played both players and they're both great players. I'm not thinking ahead at the moment.”

Nick Kyrgios on-court interview (1R)

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Kyrgios has Sonego covered

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