US Open 2022, Nick Kyrgios vs Benjamin Bonzi, live updates, scores, blog, marijuana smoking crowd, highlights, video, news

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Nick Kyrgios won the first two sets in a tough challenge against world number 50 Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in a match that took a lot of twists and turns.

Kyrgios is coming off a ‘nightmare’ match with fellow Aussie and good friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, who he took care of two sets to progress through.

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It was an impressive performance from Kyrgios, who served 14 aces, won 86% of his first service points and gave Kokkinakis no break point chances.

Jelena Dokic said Kyrgios also had that ‘razor-sharp’ focus at the start of the game against Bonzi, quickly breaking the Frenchman to take the lead.

Australian Nick Kyrgios is in action. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN / AFP)Source: AFP

“We talk a lot about Nick’s game and we know how talented he is and I think we’ve also talked a lot this year about his fitness and for me he’s the fittest he’s ever been,” opened Dokic in a comment to Channel 9.

“But for me it’s his games where he’s the favorite and I think it’s the games in the past where he’s struggled to stay focused, get out there and find that intensity and that energy. He has a winning record against so many top players. But that was the difference this year.

“He’s playing against players where he’s supposed to win and on paper he’s the favourite, he comes out and he’s really focused and getting the job done. That’s really the mindset we’ve seen.

Kyrgios wins in all Australian meetings | 01:12

But it was not going to be a walk in the park for Kyrgios, with Bonzi falling back in the fourth game after the Aussie struggled uncharacteristically with his first serves.

“He missed several in this game,” Dokic said.

“He is aggressive, he takes the ball early and is on the pitch. He took the opportunity to be aggressive and come forward. If you want to beat Nick, that’s what you have to do.

Kyrgios had a few chances to come back soon after but couldn’t, only increasing his frustrations, which the Aussie knocked out on his box.

This had Todd Woodbridge concerned in the commentary.

“I feel like it’s going to be a tough day for Nick,” Woodbridge said.

“We are only 3-everything and everything is already directed to his players’ box. Your eyes are starting to dart. Never a good sign.

“He’s mad at himself because he went 2-0 and the break and lost a pretty loose service game for him. He doesn’t lose many service games, that one he more or less gave away. He couldn’t find a first serve in the match which he gave up.

“Everyone knows he can be brilliant and play tennis in a big way, but the dressing room now knows that you go out there and you’re emotionless with him and you don’t give him any energy in that space and he will be distracted on its own.”

Benjamin Bonzi played brilliantly. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

Kyrgios, however, maintained his focus to push through a few quick service games and send the first set to a tiebreak.

While the Aussie struggled with his first serves at times early in the set, his court coverage was excellent and he more than matched Bonzi in exciting rallies.

But the Frenchman himself was well and truly up to the challenge, serving well and allowing rallies to test Kyrgios’ stamina early on.

Luckily for the Aussie, he responded in the best possible way.

It started with a perfectly placed winner down the line that drew immediate praise from Woodbridge, who said it had been one of the main improvements in Kyrgios’ game this year.

“That’s where Kyrgios has been sensational this season,” Woodbridge said.

“It’s an improvement in his agility and movement. He’s never been a bad player because he anticipates so well, but it was the first two steps to get out there and watch the work of the racket to get the whip around the outside. There wasn’t much room there.

“It had to be perfect and it was,” added Dokic.

Kyrgios then followed that up with a spectacular comeback, which Woodbridge said “you can’t teach”.

Nick Kyrgios took up the challenge. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

“It’s just natural instinct and talent,” he added.

Kyrgios didn’t look back from there, bouncing back 3-2 early in the tie-break to claim the next five points and the set.

“Talk about playing your best when it really matters. He played phenomenally,” Dokic said.

“He definitely increased here, didn’t he,” added Woodbridge, who said Kyrgios had the opportunity to increase the intensity at the start of the second set and “bury” Bonzi.

There were no early breaks in the second, however, with both players trading service games, although Kyrgios’ frustrations threatened to resurface in game four.

Once again the Australian took it out on his box, although Woodbridge asked the same question as Kyrgios.

“Nick says he doesn’t understand, I don’t understand what he wants in his player’s box when he’s without a coach to tell him what to do,” Woodbridge said.

However, in typical Kyrgios fashion, he suddenly flipped a switch and hit three aces in his next service game.

“What’s amazing about Nick sometimes is that you see him so distracted a moment ago [and] he can still come out and play solid, solid three-pointers again,” Woodbridge added.

“It’s just the amount of energy he wastes unnecessarily.”

Dokic said Kyrgios had to be careful that the frustration didn’t ‘build up’ and go ‘more and more’ given the quality of his game when he was locked down.

She added that the second set lost energy, which suited Bonzi, calling on Kyrgios to try to increase the intensity and bring the match back to its terms.

“I don’t understand,” Kyrgios told his box as he looked for a lift midway through the second set.

Nick Kyrgios needed to increase his intensity. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“He’s trying to find it [the energy] with his box,” Dokic said, adding, “He has to lift.”

In a bizarre turn of events, Kyrgios complained about a fan in the stands smoking marijuana, prompting a warning from the chair umpire to the crowd.

“It was fucking marajiuana,” Kyrgios said.

“It was smoke. Obviously I’m not going to complain about the food.

“Obviously when athletes are running side by side and they have asthma, it’s probably not ideal.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, out of courtesy to the players, please refrain from smoking around the pitch. Thank you,” the chair umpire told the crowd.

“You never get bored…I don’t know the legality of smoking in court,” Woodbridge laughed.

But even that bizarre distraction couldn’t stop Kyrgios from doing exactly what Dokic wanted, rising to claim some big points in the streak and winning the second set 6-4.

“That second set was a drop [in intensity] of both, but Nick was creating the chances when it really mattered,” Dokic said.

The third set opened just like the third, although Bonzi had a chance to take the lead early on after taking a 30-15 lead in Kyrgios’ third service game.

The Aussie hit back with two straight aces to hold serve.

Kyrgios described Bonzi as a ‘very solid player’ earlier this week, adding: ‘He’s having a great season’.

Kyrgios was backed by NBA superstar Ben Simmons, who was spotted in the stands ahead of the Australian’s game.

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