WASHINGTON (AP) — As Nick Kyrgios went through a long list of people he wanted to thank on Sunday after ending a three-year title drought by claiming the trophy at the site of his latest triumph, the Citi Open, he made mention of the match officials.
When he caught himself, the Wimbledon number two added with a knowing smile: “The relationship with the referees is still rocky.”
Extending the best part of his career, Kyrgios gave another performance that will make him someone to take seriously at the US Open, making the only breaking point he encountered in the final en route to a 6-4, 6-3 win over Yoshihito saved Nishioka at the Citi Open.
“It’s just very emotional for me,” said Kyrgios, who fell on his back onto the blue field as the match ended, then spoke of what he called an “incredible transformation” for himself. He went back to that field in the evening to team up with Jack Sock in the doubles final.
Earlier Sunday, Liudmila Samsonova won her second career WTA title by coming back to defeat sixth-seeded Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Citi Open women’s final.
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Kyrgios’ seventh career singles championship at the tour level came where his sixth did in 2019 – on the hard courts of the US capital in a tune-up for Flushing Meadows.
As usual when Kyrgios is in his game, the serve led the way, hitting 12 aces and winning 22 out of 25 first serve points. He won all nine of his service games against Nishioka, making him 64 for 64 in the tournament, finishing the week by saving all 10 break points from his opponents. The only one Kyrgios faced on Sunday was 3-2 in the first set and Kyrgios overturned it via a volley winner.
“I couldn’t understand his serve game,” said Nishioka, who ranked Kyrgios first on tour in that category and also praised the 27-year-old Australian for being “more focused” than earlier in his career.
Kyrgios managed to beat 96th-placed Japanese Nishioka three times, knocking out Andrey Rublev in the semifinals, in the opening game of each set and again in the final game of the match.
This marks quite an unusual consistency for Kyrgios, who came off a run to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Kyrgios didn’t get any ranking points for that showing – no points were awarded to anyone at Wimbledon – but the singles title in Washington will push him from 63rd to 37th, within reach of a possible US Open spot.
The game kicks off on August 29 in Flushing Meadows. That’s less than a week after a court hearing is scheduled in Australia for a common assault allegation against Kyrgios.