Mexican Open Review: Kyrgios Exhibits Frightening Display
The second ATP 500 event of the week has come to an end with Nick Kyrgios hoisting the trophy. Though every fan is aware of his immense talent, it is also known that his best self doesn't often show up to play. Spectators have grown accustomed to watching an uninterested, showboating, and often argumentative Aussie that doesn't seem to care what others' opinions are. Though he still exhibited many of these tropes throughout the tournament, something rings differently this time.
Kyrgios began the tournament with a 2019 record of 2-3, not making it past the second round of any tournament he entered this year. Yet his first match in Acapulco was a straight set victory over Andreas Seppi. In his post-match interview he admitted he was eager to get through this match to be given a chance to play Nadal.
With Kyrgios you don't often know what he will bring to his matches but, one thing is known, he will always leave it all on the court when facing the legends of the game. Kyrgios has proven to be quite troublesome for Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer. In fact, Kyrgios is one of only three players to have beaten them in his first encounters with each.
When Kyrgios took the court against Nadal, though he was a 4 to 1 underdog, many had a feeling it wouldn't be a cakewalk for Nadal. Kyrgios's quick style of play and trick shots disrupt the methodical and persnickety ways of the world No. 2. After dropping the first set to Nadal and complaining of feeling ill, it seemed it would be another early exit for Kyrgios. After battling back from a 0-40 service game in the second set, something changed in the Aussie. His posture improved, he began displaying more emotion and began moving uninhibited, it was as if he realized that he was capable of beating Nadal. Three hours and three match points later, Kyrgios had slain the crowd favorite, welcoming the cold handshake from Nadal and the boos of the crowd.
The quarterfinals had Nick battling another major champion and a man who he had a colorful history with, Stan Wawrinka. Since the incident between them at the 2015 Canada Masters, their animosity is known among fans. It was again Kyrgios who exhibited mental fortitude after dropping the second set, to come back and win the match. Kyrgios was sending a message, his win over Nadal was not a fluke, nor was it luck, he backed it up and was moving on to the semis.
Nick was slated to face fellow big server, John Isner. The tall American was showing great improvement since his first round exit at the Australian Open, as he had now made it to the semis of the past three tournaments but no further. Isner was looking to change that fact with this match, but despite Isner's rocket serves and tenacity, it was Kyrgios who held out and won in another exciting third set tiebreaker.
It was Kyrgios's first final of the year, as well as his opponent's, Alexander Zverev. Zverev had displayed impeccable form all week as he had been on court four hours less than Kyrgios and hadn't dropped a set. With Kyrgios having complained of knee pain and fatigue in previous rounds, it seemed Zverev was going to take advantage of his weakened opponent. Yet Kyrgios came out to play without his knees taped and presenting himself as if he hadn't been taxed in the previous rounds. It was an exciting contest at times, but it was Kyrgios who took it in straight sets.
Kyrgios reminded the tennis world that he isn't just another wasted talent. He is twenty-three years young and has plenty of time left to find his stride. The upcoming BNP Paribas Masters will play similarly to the conditions at Acapulco, fast and hot. Tennis fans are eager to see if this tournament win will boost his confidence for him to make a push for his first Masters 1000, or whether the Mexican Open was just another flash in the pan.