Montreal, 7 August, 2019: Nick Kyrgios crashed back to earth with a first-round loss at the ATP Montreal Masters on Tuesday, a 6-3, 6-4 victim Briton Kyle Edmund.
Two days after winning the ATP 500 series title in Washington with a burst of consistent form, the Australian court jester was unable to maintain momentum in a match delayed for 90 minutes in the second set by light rain.
“I’m a little bit tired. Physically I actually feel like I’m OK,” Kyrgios said after losing in 67 minutes of actual play.
“Kyle played well, served well and didn’t really give me any rhythm into the match at all.” With top seed Rafael Nadal due to open his campaign on Wednesday, third seed and 2017 champion Alexander Zverev led the way into the third round, battling to contain Cameron Norrie before dispatching the Brit 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
“I have great memories here from two years ago, and I’ve never lost in Montreal,” Zverev said.
“I hope it stays that way.” Kyrgios, who has come under fire for his inconsistency, had been hoping to build on his Washington success in Montreal.
“Tonight was challenging, I was actually really looking forward to playing,” he said. “But I just got beaten by a better player today.” Edmund, who won the opening set and stood 4-all in the second when players returned to the court, broke immediately and served out victory.
“It felt good,” he said after striking 35 winners to 14 for Kyrgios. “He’s a tricky player.
“I was watching for his underarm serve and he bluffed me once on that.
“You just cannot predict what he will do. I could only concentrate on my side and play my game.”
Kyrgios has returned to the Top 30 for the first time since last October as a result of his solid week in the US capital.
His loss was the third of the day for Australians, with Brit Daniel Evans defeating Alex de Minaur 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) and 12th seed John Isner rallying past Jordan Thompson 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).
Felix Auger-Aliassime won the highly-touted battle of Canadians over Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3).
An electrifying clash lasting just over two and a half hours marked another success in a breakthrough season for the 18-year-old winner.
The world number 21 has already reached his first three career ATP singles finals and three months ago became the youngest player to crack the Top 25 since Lleyton Hewitt in 1999.
“I’m pleased that I won, it would have been tough to lose that one,” the teenager said.
“There were a lot of tough moments today, but I was able to deal with them in a good way every time. There’s a lot of positives to take from that.”
He next faces another Canadian, Milos Raonic, the 17th seed, whom he beat at Stuttgart in June after losing on hardcourt in March, 2018.
“A year and a half feels like such a long time ago. Physically back then, I changed a lot. Mentally, as well.
“For sure I have the confidence that I can win against these type of players. I’m not as nervous stepping on these big courts.
“We’ll see what I can do, for sure I’m a complete different player.” Two-time quarter-finalist Marin Cilic withstood 19 aces from qualifier Bradley Klahn to reach the second round 6-3, 7-6 (9/7).
Cilic, seeded 14th, has endured an indifferent season due partly to injury. He’ll be hoping to see a return to form on North American hard courts, where he won the US Open in 2014.