After a tough August, tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios put up a fight against third seed Andy Murray at the US Open on Wednesday (AEST).
Murray, a former winner at Flushing Meadows, proved too good, though, winning 7-5 6-3 4-6 6-1 in two hours and 42 minutes.
Recap the action below with our rolling live blog…
12.13pm – Well, that’s it from The New Daily Towers. Thanks for visiting and your emails – Australia’s hopes at the final grand slam of the tennis year will have to lie elsewhere. Until next time, sports fans…
12.09pm – Murray is talking with ESPN on court now. On Kyrgios, he said: “He’s unpredictable, he can play all the shots. He’s a great athlete.
“It’s tough to get it out of his strike zone. It was a very tricky match…I just fought hard, mixed it up and managed to get through.
“I made him play as many balls as I could at the beginning of the fourth and served pretty well in that fourth set as well.”
12.06pm – Nice moment for Kyrgios, at least, as he walks off to some applause from the crowd. A far cry from the Cincinnati boos.
12.05pm – Match point for Murray. And he only needs one, as Kyrgios’ forehand goes long…that fourth set lasted just 27 minutes. Murray will be happy with that – it was a good test but he progresses, 7-5 6-3 4-6 6-1.
12.03pm – All is lost for Kyrgios but it’s important he doesn’t throw this game.
12.02pm – John McEnroe is making the case for Kyrgios on US television and saying that Murray’s transformation is the perfect example for him to follow. On the court, Murray holds to 15 and it’s 5-1 now. Kyrgios serving to stay in the match.
11.58am – Double fault hands Murray a 4-1 lead. Can’t see the Scotsman losing from here.
11.57am – This is slipping out of Kyrgios’ control. In trouble at 15-40. Big serve gets it back to 30-40.
11.55am – Kyrgios, at 40-30 on Murray’s serve, gets himself into a good position to win the point – but then produces a poor sliced shot that goes way out. And just like that, it’s 3-1 to Murray.
11.52am – Good hold from Kyrgios and it’s back to 2-1 in Murray’s favour. The Aussie is generating plenty of discussion on Twitter…
Cmon nick! Lift! You can do this #USOpen
— Matt Nevett (@therealmnev) September 2, 2015
— The Storm Kid (@TheStormKid) September 2, 2015
Bernard Tomic fast becoming Australia’s favourite tennis player by keeping quiet & letting his compatriots behave like total fools #USOpen
— sean flynn (@Seanflynn73) September 2, 2015
11.47am – Dreadful start to the fourth, as Murray breaks straight away. The response of a champion…and he holds quickly, too. So he leads 2-0 in the fourth and Kyrgios is going to have to dig in again.
11.42am – Kyrgios serves to start the fourth set.
11.39am – Is the comeback on? Murray now leads Kyrgios 7-5 6-3 4-6 on centre court. But the Aussie has generated more break points than his opponent and is starting to work his way into the match.
11.37am – And he doesn’t need all three as Murray hits a forehand straight into the net! That’s the set and Kyrgios is back in it.
11.36am – Big forehand down the line from Kyrgios makes it 0-30 on Murray’s serve. And the Scotsman follows up with a double-fault! 0-40…and three set points for Kyrgios.
11.34am – Comfortable holds for Murray and Kyrgios sees the score at 5-4 in the third set – in favour of the latter. So the favourite needs to hold serve to stay in it. Kyrgios has a chance here…
11.28am – Lovely winner – Kyrgios’ 34th – off the forehand sees him hold for 4-3. Murray has hit 39 winners, though, while the Aussie has produced 26 unforced errors to his opponent’s 19.
11.24am – One of Kyrgios’ audacious not-facing-the-court-through-the-legs shots from earlier…not bad hey? We’ve moved to 3-3, by the way.
— Sky Sports Tennis (@SkySportsTennis) September 2, 2015
11.20am – Kyrgios holds for 3-2. Sammy has responded to Roger’s email on Kyrgios from earlier: “Roger – surely you are kidding? He’s still carried on in this game, smashing racquets, constant attitude. Has NOT won me back at all.”
11.16am – Murray holds and we’re back to 2-2. Crucial game coming up here.
11.15am – Plenty of crowd shots of Lleyton Hewitt appearing on the US broadcast. He’s Kyrgios’ ‘mentor’ these days. If you missed it, he progressed to Round 2 earlier, but the conditions were too much for Thanasi Kokkinakis, who retired.
Here’s our wrap of the action earlier today: Kokkinakis retires, Hewitt wins through
11.13am – Well, well, well. After all that work to break, Murray breaks Kyrgios – and to love. That was easy.
11.12am – Yes he can! At the fourth attempt, Kyrgios breaks, ending a marathon game that went for over nine minutes. The Aussie didn’t go away there, showing impressive resolve, and now leads 2-0 in the third set.
11.08am – Two more break points for Kyrgios and again, both are saved. That sees Kyrgios throw his racquet into the surface…but he wins a third with a great backhand. Can he finally convert one?
11.02am – Roger is the latest to email through. Good to know you’re still reading The New Daily, Mr Federer… Roger said: “I haven’t been a big fan of Nick in recent months. But he’s having a crack today and I’ve been impressed by his ability to let things go. He won’t win this, but I don’t think anyone really expected him to do so. He just needs to keep fighting in this third set and he will have won some respect back.” Interesting, Roger – thanks for getting in touch. Do you agree? Meanwhile, Kyrgios holds to lead 1-0 in the third…
10.58am – If you are just tuning into our live blog, hello – where have you been? Andy Murray leads Nick Kyrgios 7-5 6-3 and appears destined for a relatively comfortable progression into the second round. Kyrgios has hit just six aces and landed 67 per cent of his first serves – something he’ll need to improve if he is to at least win a set. He’ll serve to begin the third set.
10.56am – This was Kyrgios after he lost the first set. Who knows what he has got in store now?
Kyrgios is entertaining 😂 https://t.co/d2JrCW83vQ
— Bergs™ (@bergyonce) September 2, 2015
10.55am – Murray serves to love to win the second set 6-3. It was a bright start from Kyrgios but this one appears over…
10.52am – There’s an Aussie in trouble at Flushing Meadows, but it isn’t Kyrgios. One fan appears to have invaded one of the outside courts and climbed into the umpire’s chair….
Aussie fanatic storms court, climbs into umpires chair, starts announcing, disrupts Harrison-Ram on adjacent court pic.twitter.com/C4J5em2m9p
— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) September 2, 2015
10.50am – Murray’s ability to save break points is crucial – and it shows. Kyrgios’ attempt at an ambitious winner backfires and it’s 5-2 to the world number three.
10.47am – Great point ends with Murray volleying a winner at the net. It was Kyrgios’ fourth break point for the game and he is 1/9 on them for the match.
10.41am – Oh no. That’s easy for Murray, who breaks to 15 to lead 4-2. Huge ask for Kyrgios now.
10.37am – Murray holds for 3-2 and we get camera shots of Kyrgios, slumped back in his chair, towel over his face, like he’s on holiday in Bali without a care in the world. I’m sure it’s hot out there – but that’s not a great look.
10.34am – Thanks to Rachel, who has also emailed in. “Kyrgios at it again – who gave this man a racquet? He clearly doesn’t even want it,” she says. Opinion is mixed on Nick – surprise, surprise.
10.30am – Big hold from Kyrgios, who saves break points to level it up at 2-2.
10.25am – An email has come in from Sally, who says: “He’s a bit of orright! I’m behind the fella all the way.” Orright.
10.23am – It’s humid out there and Kyrgios isn’t wearing a wristband – maybe that’s why his racquet has gone flying mid-point. He keeps shaking his head and talking to himself…and is now down 2-1.
10.20am – Couple of quick holds to start the second set and we’re at 1-1.
10.16am – Alright, it’s time to get interactive. Your emails are starting to come in but let’s take a look at Twitter first, with one user capturing a photo of Kyrgios resting between sets.
— Matthew! (@mreiter18) September 2, 2015
And sports journalist Russell Jackson has figured out what Kyrgios’ haircut reminds him of.
10.14am – Murray picks the ideal time to break and with it, takes the first set 7-5. Kyrgios got himself into a hole at 15-40 and one big serve wasn’t enough, with a powerful backhand winner giving the favourite the opener. Kyrgios complains again about the crowd as he makes his way to his chair.
10.09am – Time for Murray to have a disagreement with the umpire. He leads 6-5 but isn’t playing his best and knows it. New racquet for Kyrgios, who serves to stay in this.
10.04am – Big from Kyrgios! At 30-40, Murray had a set point, but after a long rally, he boldly plays a drop shot and it’s too good for the Scotsman. Back to 40-40 at 4-5 in the opener…and he eventually holds. So we’re at 5-5 now.
9.57am – Kyrgios was able to force deuce on Murray’s serve, but the favourite is good enough to hold for 5-4. That means the Aussie will serve to stay in the first set.
9.49am – Not too much trouble for either player on serve as Murray now leads 4-3. Kyrgios provides the match’s best highlight – so far – in the seventh game, though, playing a shot through the legs and following up with a forehand winner.
9.42am – Easy hold for Murray, who leads 3-2. The Aussie hasn’t been able to let his frustration re: crowd movement go, and is now pleading his case with officials and shaking his head. Not a great look…
9.38am – Well, that didn’t last long. A wild Kyrgios forehand hands Murray the break straight back and we’re level at 2-2. This will be the first test of Kyrgios’ attitude…and he’s muttering away about movement in the stadium. Important 10 minutes up here.
9.32am – What a start! Kyrgios not only holds easily, but then breaks Murray to lead 2-1. A reward for his early aggression.
9.25am – Nice start from Kyrgios, who makes Murray work for his 1-0 lead. Three early aces are an ominous sign from the world number three, though.
9.19am – The bookies aren’t giving Kyrgios much of a chance here. He’s $8.50 at Sportsbet to pull off a big upset – Murray is a very short $1.07. We’re about to start, with the Scotsman to serve first – bizarrely after Kyrgios won the toss but then deferred his right to choose how to start the match.
9.16am – Both players are finishing their warm-up. Adam Peacock reminds us on Fox Sports that Kyrgios has beaten both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the ATP Tour. He’s certainly got the talent – but does he have the temperament?
9.10am – No audible boos for Kyrgios as he enters Arthur Ashe Stadium – but not many cheers either. Probably a better reception than we thought, though.
9.08am – Kyrgios is talking just before he walks out. He says Murray is the “greatest athlete on tour” and that “his defence is second to none”.
9.05am – Kyrgios and Murray about to walk on court – the anticipation builds.
9.00am – Hello! Welcome to The New Daily’s live coverage of the first-round match between Australian tennis bad-boy Nick Kyrgios and number three seeded Andy Murray. To get things kicked off as we wait for the stars themselves to take to the court, enjoy this little graphic shared between @USOpen and Alphabet’s re-vamped Google.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 31, 2015
Greig Johnston’s pre-game thoughts
Rarely has there been so much intrigue about a first-round match, but Nick Kyrgios’ clash with Andy Murray at the US Open has the feel of something big.
So much so that it’s been given top billing on day two – taking centre stage on Arthur Ashe Stadium at 7pm Tuesday night (9am Wednesday morning AEST).
Love or hate him, Kyrgios is the most compelling young star in tennis.
There’s a reason he’s on in prime time while King Roger is vying for the daytime Emmy – as long as there’s a correlation between dollars and bums on seats, or eyes on screens, it doesn’t get any better than Nick Kyrgios.
His power and skills make him dangerous, and his mental fragility means we have no idea what to expect.
He seems to have it all – good looks, swagger and a power game that most players in the world would kill for.
But it’s between the ears that Kyrgios is found wanting.
He seems to have to work himself into a lather to play at his best, but in straying too close to that thin red line he is at grave risk of imploding.
He reminds you of Roberto Duran, the furiously combative Panamanian who beat Sugar Ray Leonard in 15 rounds of trench warfare, only to quit in disgrace against the same opponent five months later.
Both Kyrgios and Duran love a good sledge – and opponents’ wives, girlfriends and mothers are fair game.
Duran’s famous utterance of ‘no mas’ may prove prescient in this case.
Kyrgios doesn’t respond well when he’s down, and if the New York crowd is in his ear, and Murray’s defensive brilliance thwarts his power, don’t be surprised if an injury gets suddenly worse and he simply walks to the net.
It might seem fanciful, but as we saw when he turned up his toes for a game against Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon, Kyrgios marches to the beat of his own drum – and the rhythm, right now, is off kilter.
But should Kyrgios get on top of Murray – and there is every chance he might – look out.
One can only imagine the reaction from the famously profane Murray when he was drawn against Kyrgios – but I’ll wager it began with ‘F’.
Perhaps the brickbats Kyrgios has had to endure over the past three weeks will create the perfect storm.
One Australian bookmaker rates him an $8.50 chance to defeat Murray ($1.07).
Surely that’s a little unkind to the Aussie.
Yes, he’s never beaten Murray – and fell to him at the Australian and French Opens this year.
But those losses came in the quarter-finals and the third round respectively – first up at Flushing Meadows, Kyrgios should be full of piss and vinegar.
Win or lose, the kid is pure box office.