Opportunistic Nick: Kyrgios Clutch In Thrillng Five-Set Wimbledon Win
Nick Kyrgios did not earn many opportunities on Tuesday in his gruelling first-round match at Wimbledon. But when the Australian did, he took full advantage.
Kyrgios battled past home favourite Paul Jubb 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-5 to reach the second round at The Championships, converting five of his six break points. The No. 40 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings will next play 26th seed Filip Krajinovic or #NextGenATP Czech Jiri Lehecka.
The 27-year-old is now 10-3 in five-set matches, including 5-0 at Wimbledon. He has not lost a first-round clash this season (8-0). Kyrgios let slip an opportunity to serve for the match at 5-3 in the deciding set, but quickly rebounded to clinch his victory after three hours and five minutes behind 30 aces and 67 winners overall.
Kyrgios, who made the quarter-finals at the All England Club as a 19-year-old, arrived at the third major of the season with plenty of matches after advancing to the semi-finals in Stuttgart in Halle. But the Australian warned he would need to maintain that form against Jubb, a wild card.
“If you look at the results I’ve had the last couple weeks, if I just stick to my guns, the results say I should win pretty easy,” Kyrgios said. “I know it’s not going to be the case. I’ve got to be pretty focussed.”
That was prophetic, as World No. 219, the 2019 NCAA singles champion, played well. Throughout the match, the Briton showed no fear of the big moment, putting gutsy shotmaking on display, taking it to Kyrgios when he had the opportunity. Especially towards the end of the fourth set, Jubb took control with his forehand, crushing key forehands down the line to force a decider and frustrate his opponent.
As is the case with most Kyrgios matches, the encounter drew plenty of fans, with players watching from a nearby perch as well. Daniel Evans, Alexander Bublik and Kyle Edmund were among those who took a look at the match, especially as it grew tighter and therefore more tense.
But Kyrgios’ big serve helped keep the pressure off him, which proved pivotal. And when he earned opportunities, he made the most of them. At 3-2 in the decider, the six-time ATP Tour titlist hit a perfect crosscourt backhand passing shot to position himself for the critical break. On the next point, Jubb missed a backhand volley, and that seemed it would be a fatal mistake.
That was not the case, though. With the full support of the crowd Jubb, who converted just two of his 13 break points, broke back. Kyrgios was frustrated, but he remained calm enough to hold on. After letting slip his first match point by missing a backhand return long, he made sure to put his next return in play, and Jubb missed a first-ball forehand.