Nick Kyrgios loses cool, wins match

8/26/2014 - Tennis

NEW YORK -- Even before 11 on Monday morning the aficionados had practically filled the 2,800-seat jewel of a showcourt, No. 17.

At three minutes past the hour, Nick Kyrgios, the Australian teenager, sauntered out, wearing fluorescent pinkish headphones -- to match his shirt and shoelaces.

It was shrewd planning by those astute fans, for on a hot day at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Kyrgios proved to be even hotter -- for better and for worse. Three hours and three minutes later, he knocked the first seeded man out of the tournament, No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny, 7-5, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (1).

Kyrgios, who was overly emotional at times, was called for three code violations, one shy of default.

"I have to know I'm still young and it's a long journey," Kyrgios said later. "I have to just be patient. I think it's good to have high expectations as well."

Kyrios, of course, took out then-No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal in the fourth round at Wimbledon. The 19-year-old won the Challenger at Nottingham, accepted a wild card from the All England Club and then announced himself with that ridiculously nonchalant between-the-legs shot that left Rafa looking stunned.

It was not a textbook "clean" match, with Kyrgios hitting 26 aces and 68 winners -- leavened by 57 unforced errors. Youzhny, who looked all of his 32 years afterward, actually won one more point, 157 to 156.

Kyrgios, who withdrew from Cincinnati with a left arm injury, said he's going to have to learn to push through the pain. And to think last year he qualified his way into the main draw here.

"Yeah, it's all happened so fast," he said. "It sort of hasn't sunk in. It sunk in a little bit, but I'm still pretty amazed how fast it all happened."

He's one of only five teenagers in the men's main draw and he's so young that, when asked for his favorite US Open memory growing up, said he didn't have one.

"I watched Federer-Hewitt [the 2004 final] this morning," Kyrgios said. "That's probably the only one I can remember right now."

Coming in hot

Nine years ago, No. 9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won the US Open junior boys tournament. But, mysteriously, this is the Grand Slam where he's been the least successful. The best the Frenchman has done here is reaching the quarterfinals (in 2011), and he's missed two of the past four US Opens due to knee injuries.

This year, Tsonga comes in with some serious momentum, having won the title in Toronto. He's already through to the second round after struggling a bit before beating Juan Monaco 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1.

"In this tournament I never played really well, never my best tennis, except when I was [in] juniors," Tsonga said. "So, I'm looking forward to playing good tennis here because there is no reason to play bad tennis here.

"Yeah, I think this is the best moment for me to play good tennis here at the US Open."

Tsonga could play 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray in the fourth round.

Early exit for Young

Like Tsonga, Donald Young was a junior Grand Slam champion, winning the Wimbledon boys title in 2007 to go with an Aussie Open title two years earlier at the age of 15.

But Young never quite made it stick at the elite levels of men's tennis. Heading into this year, he had won only seven of 25 Grand Slam singles matches. But this year, he won his first-ever matches at Roland Garros and cobbled together a 4-3 record in majors and a No. 47 ranking coming into the US Open.

Monday, he lost to the No. 92-ranked player in the world, Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic. Young was up a break in the first set but eventually fell 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. It was their first ATP World Tour main-draw meeting.

New and improved

The grounds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center have a different, far more fan-friendly look this year.

Bleachers have been erected in the end zones of Courts 4, 5 and 6 and there are similarly elevated seats above the practice courts. Moreover, there is a big digital board that lists the players actually on the practice courts.

This follows last year's addition of the spacious Court 17 arena. By 2016, the USTA plans to have a retractable roof in place on Arthur Ashe Stadium and a new Grandstand completed. Two years later, it hopes to have a new roof on a refurbished Louis Armstrong Stadium.


Unlike some of the top seeds, No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska won easily, defeating Sharon Fichman of Canada 6-1, 6-0 -- in 47 minutes. Fichman, who won only 15 points, is 0-4 in Grand Slam singles matches ... Johanna Larsson did Radwanska one better, beating Virginie Razzano 6-0, 6-0 ... Benoit Paire defeated fellow Frenchman (and No. 24 seed) Julien Benneteau in a five-set match that went 4 hours, 4 minutes ... No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka defeated Jiri Vesely 6-2, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3). It was his eighth straight Grand Slam win on a hard court after winning his first major title in Australia. He's won 13 of his past 14. Wawrinka made the semifinals here last year ... No. 5 seed Milos Raonic defeated Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (1). The 23-year-old Canadian came into New York with a blazing 10-2 record on the summer hard-court circuit ... The No. 16-seeded Tommy Robredo won his 100th Grand Slam singles match Monday, defeating Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. The 32-year-old Spaniard also became only the third active player (along with Nadal and David Ferrer) to record 200 victories on both hard courts and clay. Tomas Berdych, who plays Lleyton Hewitt on Wednesday, needs that one to join Robredo in hitting the Grand Slam century mark.