A rusty Nick Kyrgios has shrugged off what he called an average performance despite winning through to the second round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over world No.185 Frederico Ferreira Silva.
The Australian overcame a slow start to beat Portugal’s Ferreira Silva 6-4 6-4 6-4 in 119 minutes.
The world No.47 now faces a tricky second-round clash with world No.34 Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
Kyrgios converted just five of his 17 break-point opportunities for the match, and he conceded he was still rusty.
“Honestly it was pretty average,” Kyrgios said of his performance when interviewed on the court after the match.
I haven’t played a grand slam match in over a year. I was very nervous walking out here.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to produce anywhere near my best tennis. But he’s a tricky player.
“He’s obviously feeling confident, he qualified. I played juniors with him, and it looks like he’s blooming into a good player. I’m just happy I got through ultimately.”
Kygrios cut a frustrated figure early in the match, dropping his opening service game before bellowing at his entourage: “Are you even awake? You haven’t said anything.”
The frustrations continued to build as Kyrgios blew seven break-point chances in the third game.
He finally secured the break back on his eighth chance, and from there he dominated the rest of the set.
Kyrgios used his powerful serve to continue his dominance in the second set, snaring the crucial break in the fifth game.
After receiving some treatment on his troublesome left knee at the end of the second set, Kyrgios broke Ferreira Silva in the first game of the third set.
But from there Kyrgios suffered a mini meltdown, berating himself as Ferreira Silva broke him to love on the way to winning eight straight points.
Earlier Bernard Tomic had a walkover against Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.
Tomic fought back from a set down and appeared headed for victory when Sugita took a medical time-out during the third set.
Sugita carried on for two more games but could not complete the match, which Tomic led 3-6 6-1 4-1.
“I played very, very badly in the first set,” a still unhappy Tomic said.
“I was kind of a little bit nervous. It was windy, it was cold. It was pretty bad. But the second and third was some of the best tennis I’ve played in a while.”
Tomic cited a nagging knee injury as the reason for his nerves, having dealt with the issue on and off for the past few weeks.
“I didn’t feel it today, so it was good,” Tomic said. “I’m hoping (it will hold up throughout the tournament).”
Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic savoured a rare grand slam victory but the Australian No.2 is determined to be more kind to herself, win or lose.
Tomljanovic banked a confidence-building 6-2 6-1 round one win over Japan’s Misaki Doi to equal her previous best performance at Melbourne Park.
Her best-ever showing at a major was a round four appearance at Roland Garros back in 2014.
Ash Barty’s understudy in the local ranks, Tomljanovic remains hopeful she can take the next step and push on from world No.72 into the top 50.
“I feel like I come here and I always get similar questions. I know I haven’t made that jump that I’ve always been saying I’m looking to make,” Tomljanovic told AAP.
“When I look back on my career, some of the matches I could have won were maybe a turning point and maybe I would have been in a different place.
“But I’m such a big believer that if you just do the work and always try to improve it has to work out at some point, and then if it doesn’t, it’s OK too.”
While her talent has always been evident, Tomljanovic has struggled for consistency.
She is hopeful that spending plenty of time practising at Melbourne Park over the summer can give her an edge in this year’s Open.
“This is the best preparation I’ve had because I’ve hit so much on the courts here,” she said.
“I was pleased I came out with a strong first round and came up with a win.
I worked really hard to put myself in the position and today was one of those days when it clicked.”
She said she now felt “more mature”, and “cherished” being able to compete after such a tough 2020 when she felt starved of tennis.
“It’s not that my time is limited but I want to treat every tournament as a huge opportunity that can take me places,” she said.
“I also try to give myself a little more credit than I used to. If I could change one thing in my career I would be more positive with myself.
“I’m not sure it would have made a difference but I consciously try to do that now.”
Simona Halep showed no sign of problems with her back as she cruised into the second round with a comfortable win over Queensland’s Lizette Cabrera.
The two-time grand slam champion – a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year – swept aside her opponent 6-2 6-1 in less than an hour.
Halep, the second seed, downplayed injury fears over the weekend despite requiring treatment on tight muscles in her lower back during the build-up to the tournament.
Millman, who last year came within inches of defeating Roger Federer in the third round of the Australian Open, maintained level pegging with his left-handed opponent up until the seventh game of the final set.
But after an error-strewn run of games, including a final chance dumped into the net, Moutet ousted the local hope 6-4 6-7(4) 3-6 6-2 6-3, silencing what was a raucous Court 3 crowd.
It was a remarkable turnaround for the 21-year-old Frenchman, who had earlier fired several verbal shots at the chair umpire and spectators.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka breezed through their first round draws, both shrugging off speculation about niggling injuries and shoulder soreness.