Nick Kyrgios has come back from a break down in the final set and avoided being defaulted from the Estoril Open all in the space of half an hour.
Kyrgios, who was playing journeyman Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas won the match 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) but it wasn’t without more than it’s share of drama.
Having lost the second set in a tie-breaker, Kyrgios found himself down a break in the third, but rallied to get things level late in the final set.
Kyrgios then went up 6-5 and had two match points on the Ramos-Vinolas serve, one of which he blew in spectacular fashion by missing a short ball wide and long just when it appeared the match was his.
That led to a final set breaker, during which Kyrgios whacked a ball out of the stadium, and having already received two code violations, one for an audible obscenity and the second for racket abuse, he was treading a fine line.
Things got heated too — umpire Fergus Murphy appeared to not see Kyrgios unleash his anger and then Ramos-Vinolas reacted, asking the umpire to issue a third and final code violation to the Aussie.
Kyrgios was simply happy to make it through the match.
“When I was down a break in the third set, I was struggling. But somehow I broke back in the tiebreaker.
“It was a fun match in the end and I’m very pleased to get through. I was frustrated at the end of the second set. I’ve not played a lot of tennis in the last few months.
“Having match points last week and not converting did not help the confidence. I just need to play a lot more matches right now, I’ve not played a lot of tennis in the last few months.”
Kyrgios got off the hook, but it wasn’t so for fellow Aussie Marinko Matosevic, who lost in straight sets to a returning Richard Gasquet.
The 7-6 (9-7) 6-1 loss to Gasquet, who was making his return from a back injury was Matosevic’s sixth consecutive first round loss in all tournaments in a stretch dating back to March’s Indian Wells event, where he lost to Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
The last time Matosevic won a match on the ATP Tour was at the Acapulco event in February, where he defeated Spaniard Marcel Granollers, before falling to David Ferrer.
Gasquet last took to a court on cement in Indian Wells on March 15, retiring with a herniated disc in his back against German Michael Berrer in the second round.
In Istanbul fellow young Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis got his claycourt season off to a losing start, falling in the first round to 24-year-old Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-4 7-5.