Efficient Kyrgios defeats German in Paris
NICK Kyrgios has shrugged off injury concerns to surge into the French Open's second round, dismissing German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber with ruthless efficiency.
Troubled by left hip soreness, Kyrgios packed too many guns in a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory.
Trading on a thunderous serve, Kyrgios claimed his first victory under new coach Sebastien Grosjean and will next face either South African Kevin Anderson or Tunisian Malek Jaziri.
The Australian said he was pleasantly surprised with his performance given the doubts leading in.
"There were a lot of question marks on how I would perform today and I haven't had that many matches on the clay,” the 18th seed said.
"I have obviously been struggling physically and obviously not having matches on the clay and not feeling that confident and I saw the draw and I thought it was going to be very tough.
"He has been around for a long time now and he knows what to do to win matches and he is pretty comfortable on the clay.
"I served really well today at important times of the match and I thought I played the right style to win today and hopefully I can keep going.
"I have been doing a lot of treatment during the day and at night as well. I will do all the right things after this ... and hopefully it keeps pulling up OK for me to play.”
Composed during the 111-minute contest, Kyrgios briefly interacted with American umpire Jake Garner over a line call but there were no volcanic outbursts.
Kyrgios said the partnership with Grosjean, twice a Wimbledon semi-finalist and also in Melbourne and at Roland Garros, was important.
"I was looking for the right person to guide me and keep me on track,” he said.
"I feel like my game, I know what to do to win matches. I don't feel like my level is a problem, it is more about being consistent and finding that motivation every day to stand and grind and give 100 per cent.
"He is the type of guy that cares about my well-being first, rather than just tennis results, and he knows that I need my space at times and he knows how to deal with me and at the moment I think it is pretty good.
"Obviously it is hard for me, when we are on the practice court, having someone in my ear. I haven't had that in almost three years, so you go from one extreme to the other and it is a slow transition, but I think I am getting there.”
The Australian No. 1 clubbed 40 winners, 20 aces and made only 22 unforced errors and four double faults in an emphatic display.
In doubt pre-tournament because of hip and shoulder complaints, Kyrgios served sublimely.
He kept Kohlschreiber on the defensive by winning 81 percent of first balls and a solid 55 percent on second serve and didn't drop his delivery for the match.
Typically, the Canberran embarked on another round of incessant running commentary throughout the match - negative and positive in equal measure.
"Great shot,” he enthused, in reaction to Kohlschreiber backhand missile.
"Bullshit” after missing first serve. And "sorry” after framing a mishit.
Kyrgios took early control when Kohlschreiber gunned a forehand long to lead 4-2 before sealing the first set in 30 minutes.
He was forced to work harder in the second set, eventually wriggling free of a resurgent Kohlschreiber to have the match at his mercy.
But he stumbled into strife in the first game of the third set when he successfully defended three break points.
From there, Kyrgios monstered the German, breaking serve in the sixth game as he continued to rain huge drives on his opponent.
Faced with a daunting run through the first week, the merit of Kyrgios' victory should not be understated.
Kohlschreiber reached the Casablanca final and boasts a fine Roland Garros pedigree.