Taylor Fritz battled his way to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Aussie Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday and a place in the third round of the Cincinnati Open. In a clash of big serves, it was the American No. 1 who came out on top, firing 16 aces against an unsuccessful Kyrgios who hit just seven and made up for most with six double faults.
The 11th-seeded Fritz needed just 51 minutes to condemn Australia’s Kyrgios to his second loss since falling to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. Such was Fritz’s dominance on serve that Kyrgios was unable to muster a single break chance in the entire match, while the 24-year-old American converted three of his seven chances.
Parts of the crowd were unimpressed with Kyrgios’ efforts and there were some boos at the end of the one-sided affair.
“He doesn’t seem strong enough to do it week after week,” noted former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski on Amazon Prime. “You can hear the boos around the stadium. They didn’t feel like he had given his best effort there. But I think you have to give him some slack… he’s tried.”
Kyrgios, who had been on a roll with 16 wins in his previous 18 matches since the start of his famous Wimbledon run, seemed distracted from the start, muttering that “it was only a matter of time before it all falls apart.” .
Fritz will next face Russia’s sixth seed Andrey Rublev, who beat Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-2.
“It feels great that my game is harmonizing today,” said Fritz. “That’s the kind of match I really needed to give me a lot of confidence going into the next match, going to the US Open, for sure a lot of things are falling into place.”
Australian No 1 Alex de Minaur was also tamed in a 6-3, 6-2 loss at the hands of Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Just as Kyrgios had too much firepower for him the week before in Montreal, the Sydneysider, who so often finds the best in the business a step too far for him, was intimidated by the young Canadian.
It was a daunting experience for World No. 20 De Minaur, who was not lacking in effort as he tried to come back from 4-0 down in the second set.
Auger-Aliassime decorated his resounding victory with 22 winners. The 22-year-old’s power earned him four breaks, while de Minaur broke just one when all was almost lost at 4-1 in the second stanza, a brilliant effort capped off by a blistering forehand.
But their resistance didn’t last long as Auger-Aliassime quickly regained her supremacy, breaking for a 5-2 lead before closing out the process with her own delivery in just 78 minutes.