Will We See More Of The New Acapulco Nick Kyrgios?

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In the end, Nick Kyrgios made it look easy in his straight-set title-win over Alexander Zverev in Acapulco. And just like that, he shifted the narrative from how he made his life difficult on-court with his behavioral eccentricities to how effortless he made it seem, as if to reinforce the credibility of his talent all over again. But the takeaway is, did Kyrgios intend for the latter to happen? And, if he did, would he stick with this in the upcoming events or revert to what had been his type (until before Acapulco)?

But the thing is – it does not matter either way. So, when there is talk about him replicating his recent results further along the way or of him living up to his prodigious capabilities, there is a passing over of external expectations onto him. This also creates unnecessary and unwanted obligations for him to do well so as to fulfil promises invoked under his name by the audiences – thereby creating a vicious cycle of presumptions and disappointments.

Come to think of it, then, Kyrgios has had no part to play in this cyclical display of unfulfilled expectations. All along, while these have played around him – since he first defeated Rafael Nadal at 2014 Wimbledon – he has been true to himself. In trying to make him change, to make him conform to stipulations – well-established and therefor, expected – the audiences are doing him a disservice and yet again, piling up their notion of an ideal player on his shoulders.

Contextually, then, Kyrgios is no different to other people – in everyday life – with ebbs and flows to match. A random someone finds it harder to make it to his line of work, or finds innumerable faults with it. Yet, there is a dogged continuance in the same work in order to prioritise other aspects of the said someone’s life. Because that is how it has to be. So, why is it surprising when Kyrgios – a youngster – cribs and mouths off about his profession and yet, finds a way to make it work, when he does? If this were not enough, with Kyrgios’ each achievement, a parallel develops in which not only his performance but also his persona is dissected.

After his win in Acapulco, Kyrgios admitted that there were changes he needed to bring about enhance his career. “I’m very lucky to be in this position. I need to be way more disciplined, way better professionally and do the right things. I don’t even have a coach, so maybe I start there,” Kyrgios said, while sharing that he had been jet-skiing a few hours before playing the final. What he said and he choose to do proved Kyrgios’ contradictoriness. As it showed well-established precedents – not only set by other players in the sport but also in general, in life – had their limits, and their exceptions.

In fairness, it would be wrong to say that these quirks would work each time. But in sport as in life, nothing is a given. Wins and losses are par for the course, and for each time Kyrgios has been (rightfully called out) for his lack of efforts, observers also need to equally righteously appreciate his committed performances while letting him be. Tennis needs its share of mercurialness and it would be a poorer place without Kyrgios in it.

Tsitsipas Upset of Federer Sets Up Potential Inter-Generational Aussie Open Semifinals

The men’s field at the 2019 Australian Open could turn into a battle of the generations.

After the Stefanos Tsitsipas upset of six-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer in the round of 16 Sunday, the men’s singles draw appears to point towards two intriguing semifinal match-ups of “old guard” versus “new guard” players.

After his upset of Federer, Tsitsipas will next face Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the quarterfinals, where he will be favored, despite RBA’s recent tournament win in Doha and suffering through three five-set match wins en route to the quarterfinals. Tsitsipas would then, likely, face world No. 2 Rafael Nadal who, despite injury fears at the end of last year and the start of this year, has rolled into the quarterfinals. Nadal is a heavy favorite to beat another “NextGen” young star, 21-year-old Frances Tiafoe of the USA, who defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round to reach his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal. A semifinal between the 20-year-old Tsitsipas and the 32-year-old Nadal would be a prime box-office engagement.

Almost as intriguing a semifinal match-up would be a potential penultimate round showdown on the top half of the draw between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 4 Alexander Zverev. Djokovic, 31 and a six-time Australian Open champion, has No. 15 seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round and either No. 8 Kei Nishikori or No. 23 Pablo Carreno Busta and appears on a collision course with the 21-year-old Zverev. With new coach Ivan Lendl is his corner, Zverev will seek to reach a major semifinal for the first time. Former Wimbledon finalist and Australian Open semifinalist Milos Raonic awaits in the round of 16 and No. 11 Borna Coric or No. 2 Lucas Pouille in the quarterfinals.

It will be interesting to monitor the tennis betting odds at 888sport and who they view as the favorite in these and other potential match-ups.

Karlovic stuns Monfils in Cincinnati; Ljubicic, Ferrer, Safin advance

Croatian serving machine Ivo Karlovic smashed 21 aces en route to dismissing No. 13 seed Gael Monfils, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(2), in two hours and 10 minutes on Monday afternoon to advance to the second round at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters 1000 in Cincinnati.
Karlovic, who defeated No. 1 Roger Federer last year in Cincinnati, was very strong on his service games throughout, even hitting five aces in the final set tiebreaker.

Karlovic won 64 of 74 first serve points, 56 percent of second serve points and was able to save all five break points he faced on his serve. The 6-foot-10 Croatian was consistently smashing serves in the 130 M.P.H. range.
Despite losing, Monfils also had a good serving outing, winning 57 of 74 first serve points, 62 percent of second serve points, but had a hiccup in the third game of the opening set when the 30-year-old Karlovic broke serve.

Karlovic, who improved to 2-1 against Monfils, next faces Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, who rallied to defeat German Mischa Zverev, 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-3, in two hours and 25 minutes.

In other action, fellow Croatian Ivan Ljubicic hammered 19 aces past Frenchman Florent Serra to advance to the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, victory. It was Ljubicic’s third straight win over Serra.

After a slow start to his Cincinnati title campaign, Ljubicic managed to get his consistency back and was able to break serve twice and win 76 percent of first serve points and 71 percent of second serve points en route to setting up a second round clash with No. 4 seed Novak Djokovic. Djokovic has a 2-1 edge in career matches with Ljubicic, most recently beating him in straight sets in the quarterfinals in Madrid.

Former Top 5 player David Ferrer of Spain breezed past Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, 7-5, 6-2, in one hour and 39 minutes. Ferrer improved to 4-2 against the Swiss, winning the last three meetings.

The Spaniard, currently ranked No. 19, dropped only six points on his first serve, while breaking Wawrinka’s serve on four of 11 opportunities. Wawrinka, who teamed with Roger Federer to win a doubles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, struggled on serve throughout, making only 47 percent of his first serves. Ferrer, a two-time quarterfinalist in Cincinnati, earned his 37th victory of the season, which includes reaching the finals earlier this year in Barcelona and Dubai. The Spaniard next faces No. 14 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, who cruised past Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-3, 6-4, in 72 minutes. The head-to-head between Ferrer and Cilic is tied 1-1, with Ferrer winning most recently in Miami in three sets.

In the late match, unseeded Marat Safin of Russia beat American Robby Ginepri, 7-5, 7-6(2), in one hour and 26 minutes. Safin, who announced that this will be his last season on the ATP World Tour, smashed 13 aces and just four double faults, while breaking Ginepri’s serve twice on six opportunities. Safin now levels the series 2-2 with Ginepri with his victory.

Other scores from Monday in Cincinnati
No. 9 Gilles Simon def. Wayne Odesnik, 6-3, 6-2
Jeremy Chardy def. No. 15 Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 7-5
No. 16 Radek Stepanek def. Victor Troicki, 7-6(2), 1-0 ret. Injury
Sam Querrey def. Yen-Hsun Lu, 6-3, 6-4
Igor Andreev def. Nicolas Kiefer, 6-1, 7-5
Benjamin Becker def. Martin Vassallo Arguello, 6-3, 6-3
Nicolas Almagro def. Dudi Sela, 6-4, 1-0 ret. Injury
Jose Acasuso def. Lukas Kubot, 6-4, 6-3

Things To Do At A Tennis Tournament

Imagine this:  You are traveling from continent to continent. Live in hotels one week after the other.  You work hard, you play matches , you eat something and it’s back to the hotel room. Week in, week out.  Now that gets dull after a while. I don’t blame Marat Safin for being bored with the tour if you put it that way.

But you are also in different countries, you can take some time off to wander around town. Visit places that most of us won’t ever get to see. Plus you get paid for it too.

Elena Dementieva for example entertains herself with her cactuses’.  Maria Sharapova runs off to do a photoshoot or another fashion item for whatever magazine.

The following guys found another way to entertain themselves.  Rather than spending a lot of time being bored  in hotelrooms, they turned into fashion models.  Luckily for us here at TennisGrandstand, someone shot the photos of it.

Enjoy the photos of the following players on the catwalk at the Roger Cup in Montreal:

– Mischa Zverev
– Novak Djokovic
– Tommy Robredo
– Mark Knowles
– Jeremy Chardy

(Photocredit © Danièle Francis / Tennis Canada)