Australia’s Nick Kyrgios has again given the tennis world a glimpse of his massive potential, overcoming world No.3 Alexander Zverev in straight sets to claim the Mexican Open in Acapulco on Sunday.
Having advanced to the decider by beating world No.2 Rafael Nadal, two-time grand slam singles winner Stan Wawrinka and world No.9 John Isner, the unseeded Canberran won 6-3 6-4 in 90 minutes to hold aloft his fifth career tournament title.
Kyrgios, whose most recent win was the 2018 Brisbane International, made the most of his powerful serve to send down 13 aces after landing 70 per cent of his first serves.
NK Rise and SHINE! 😇
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 3, 2019
What gave the win even more merit was that Zverev hadn’t dropped a set en route to the final, but couldn’t win any against Kyrgios, who will regain his place in the world’s top 50.
The 23-year-old earned himself $US367,630 ($519,000), a rankings boost (from 72 to 43) and a sombrero for his glorious week in Acapulco.
“This is an amazing tournament. I loved it two years ago and have some crazy memories here,” said Kyrgios, who also scored his first win over world No.1 Novak Djokovic in 2017 in Acapulco.
The German praised the inventive Australian, whose carefree attitude has been called into question in the past and whose well-disguised drop shots from the back of the court often caught him out on court.
“Well done to Nick. He beat three top-10 players and Stan, who’s a grand slam champion. So to beat four players like that in a 500 (series) event, you deserve to be the champion,” a gracious Zverev said.
“He’s the one who deserves to win the tournament this week.”
Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou was one of several tennis insiders – including Australian Open director Craig Tiley – to laud the enigmatic Aussie, saying he’s “fantastic for tennis”.
I know it sounds like everyone but I really believe that @NickKyrgios is fantastic for tennis. One of the only player who doesn’t think twice before talking or acting. He is just being himself, like it or not. That is what tennis needs.
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) March 3, 2019
— Craig Tiley (@CraigTiley) March 3, 2019
Nick Kyrgios puts together the best week of his career, beating Seppi, Nadal, Wawrinka, Isner and then Sascha Zverev to win ATP 500 Acapulco.
6-3, 6-4 in the final over Zverev.
Kyrgios played free, fun, and focused ball. Who knows if it will last, but enjoy it while it’s here.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 3, 2019
Kyrgios broke Zverev early in both sets, allowing him to pocket the first set in 40 minutes.
But Zverev broke back immediately in the second set before Kyrgios again gained the advantage for a 4-2 lead and then served out the match.
Meanwhile, countryman Alex de Minaur, who lost to Zverev in the quarter-finals, will climb to a career-high No.23 in the world after his run in Mexico.