Nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal handed Australia’s Nick Kyrgios a clay court lesson at the Madrid Open on Friday morning.
Fourth-seeded Nadal beat the Aussie 6-3 6-1 in just 72 minutes in a match that showed promise early, but quickly became a procession.
Nadal served first, racing to a 30-0 lead before Kyrgios made an early declaration of intent with a stunning two-handed return.
The Spaniard had some work to do to get back into the fourth game, but luck was on his side when his drop shot hit the net, gifting the four-time Madrid champion the early break.
It was the start of three consecutive breaks of service. Kyrgios immediately squared the ledger, singing along to compatriot Sia’s Chandelier at the change of ends.
Rafael Nadal cruises to a win over Nick Kyrgios.
He had little to sing about soon after, double-faulting to give Nadal another break. The Australian held on in the eighth game, but the hometown hero took the first set 6-3.
It took until the fifth game of the second set for Kyrgios to get on the board and avoid the ignominy of his first bagel — a set without winning a game – on the men’s tour.
That was as good as it got for the 22-year-old. Nadal soon found himself with three match points, and Kyrgios perhaps had another Sia hit — The Greatest — bouncing around his head.
Nadal will face David Goffin in the quarter-finals after the Belgian beat fifth seed Milos Raonic 6-4 6-2.
Earlier, world No. 1 Andy Murray crashed out in the third round to 20-year-old Borna Coric 6-3 6-3 as his difficult start to the clay season continued.
The Briton, who was thrashed by the Croatian by an even wider margin in the Dubai Championships in 2015, performed poorly in the first set, losing three service games and looking increasingly frustrated.
“Most things weren’t working particularly well. I started the match OK, but when I started to go behind, I didn’t find any way to improve my game or to make it more difficult for him,” Murray told a news conference.
“I didn’t help myself find a way into the match to start playing better. That was disappointing because you’re not always going to play your best tennis but you can still find ways to make it difficult for your opponent and I didn’t do that today.”
World No. 59 Coric, who won his first ATP title last month in Morocco, took the second break point to serve out for the match, sending last year’s finalist and two-time Madrid winner Murray packing.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic also reached the quarter-finals with a straight-sets victory over Feliciano Lopez.
The former world No. 1 joined Kei Nishikori, Alexander Zverev, Pablo Cuevas and Dominic Thiem in the last eight.