Nick Kyrgios bounces back from Wimbledon 'hurt' to cruise through Washington first round

Men's top seed Rublev and women's second seed Raducanu also advance to second round

Nick Kyrgios plays a shot to Marcos Giron during Washington Open first round. Getty
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Nick Kyrgios said he was "proud" of his performance in defeating Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the ATP and WTA Washington Open on Tuesday.

Playing in his first match since reaching the Wimbledon final last month - where he was defeated in four sets by defending champion Novak Djokovic - Kyrgios fired 12 aces and saved the lone break point he faced to oust Giron in 59 minutes for a triumphant return at the US Open hardcourt tune-up.

After a 3-3 start, Kyrgios won nine of the last 11 games for the victory despite memories of a poor effort in a first-round exit last year during "a dark time in my life."

"I just really wanted to force myself to have high energy and pull out a performance," Kyrgios said. "My confidence was a bit low coming out just because just being on that court again. I got disgraced last year first round, and it was tough to stomach. I'm proud of my performance today. It wasn't easy."

World No 63 Kyrgios, whose most recent title came at Washington in 2019, booked a second-round match against US 14th seed Tommy Paul.

Kyrgios revealed he has struggled to move on after his Wimbledon final loss but said reaching his maiden major final has given him the belief he can do so again.

"That match hurts," Kyrgios said. "To have that opportunity and come up short wasn't easy for me to stomach.

"It was hard. I feel like a Grand Slam final doesn't come around so often for us normal players. That was like the golden opportunity.

"I'm doing all the right things to put myself in that position again. I don't think we thought it was possible to contend for Grand Slams, but now it's a genuine thing."

A hearing in Australia on common assault charges against Kyrgios from a January 2021 incident had originally been scheduled for Tuesday but last month was moved to August 23, six days before the start of the US Open.

"I've got people in my corner and my team dealing with those things. They are out of my control," Kyrgios said. "All I can do is just continue to work and keep my head down and do what I love to do every day."

Andrey Rublev defeated Jack Draper in straight sets to reach the Washington Open second round. AFP

Rublev moves into second round

Top seed Andrey Rublev advanced to the third round by defeating Britain's Jack Draper 6-4, 6-2.

World No 8 Rublev dispatched the 81st-ranked left-hander in 83 minutes without surrendering a break. Rublev will play for a quarter-final berth on Thursday against an American, either Jack Sock or Maxime Cressy.

Rublev, 24, seeks his fourth ATP title of the year and the 12th of his career after crowns at Marseille and Dubai in February and Belgrade in April.

Rublev, who wrote "No War Please" on a camera lens at Dubai, was among Russian players banned from Wimbledon because of his homeland's military invasion of Ukraine.

"There's nothing more important than to have peace and love all around the world," Rublev said.

"I do believe that by being united and doing good things for the peace, if tennis will be example of it, maybe other sports will follow and maybe one day sport can be without politics."

Emma Raducanu will face María Camila Osorio in the Washington Open second round after defeating Louisa Chirico. AP

Raducanu advances

Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu, the 19-year-old British second seed, reached the second round by defeating American Louisa Chirico 6-4, 6-2.

World No 10 Raducanu won her first match since a second-round Wimbledon exit to book a last-16 match against Colombia's María Camila Osorio.

Former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion and three-time US Open runner-up, beat Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-0.

American Mackenzie McDonald, the 2021 Washington runner-up, lost his opener 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori, who meets Polish second seed Hubert Hurkacz next.

Updated: August 03, 2022, 6:24 AM