Nick Kyrgios is through to the third round of the US Open after beating Benjamin Bonzi 7-6(3) 6-4 4-6 6-4 in a chaotic match.
During the match Kyrgios complained to his team for not spurring him on enough in tight moments and also claimed to the chair umpire that he could smell marijuana fumes midway through the second set.
Nevertheless, the Australian No. 23 seed was able to keep composed enough to seal a four set victory over the Frenchman to reach the third round for the fifth time in his career.
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Kyrgios, who has never gone beyond the third round at the US Open, will face American J.J. Wolf next.
“I was literally hanging by a thread,” Kyrgios said in his on-court interview.
“His level today was incredible. I was not expecting an absolute war. That could have gone either way. He was a break up early in the fourth. I played some really risky tennis late in that fourth set to win. I’m just really happy to get through.
“It’s been a very stressful time so I have high expectations to go deep this week and I’m just glad I got through.
“Every tournament I play now I’m expected to play amazing tennis every time but I’d rather have that pressure and expectation to go far but I definitely feel like my game has so much more confidence and I’m playing some of the best tennis of my life. That’s down to a lot of things but I’m happy.”
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Kyrgios made a strong start, breaking Bonzi in the opening game, but his 2-0 lead quickly evaporated. He saved two of three break back points but was undone by a tidy volley from the Frenchman on his final opportunity.
Both players remained locked on serve until the tie-break when Kyrgios rallied from 3-2 down to surge through the next five points and claim a 50-minute set by a 7-3 scoreline.
Neither would concede on their serve in the second set, with a marijuana complaint from Kyrgios at 4-3 up, until the scoreline reached 5-4. Bonzi double faulted at 40-15 before buckling from deuce, slapping a tame forehand low into the net to cough up the break and the set.
Bonzi grabbed the first break in the third set to move into a 5-4 lead. In frustration, Kyrgios he was warned for unsportsmanlike conduct as he spat on the floor and shouted at his team again. The Frenchman quickly wrapped up the set on his own serve.
Kyrgios responded to an early break by biting straight back to make it 2-2 at the beginning of the fourth set.
The Australian rescued three break points at 4-4 to move within a game of the third round before sealing the match on Bonzi’s serve to love.
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