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Nick Kyrgios lit up the Australian Open on Tuesday night in a straight-sets victory over Liam Broady to advance to the second round.
Less than a fortnight after testing positive for Covid, the Aussie star put some spark into a previously subdued Melbourne Park with a 6-4 6-4 6-3 win over the British qualifier on John Cain Arena.
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Affectionately known as 'The People's Court', John Cain Arena is known to be Kyrgios' favourite at Melbourne Park because of the lively atmosphere in the crowd.
Wearing a red basketball-style singlet and trademark jewellery, Kyrgios lived up to his billing as the game's greatest showman as he broke Broady's serve in the opening game and whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
The 26-year-old then blasted a 220km/h ace and followed it up with a cheeky underhand serve through his legs as he held to love to set the tone for the entire match.
Kyrgios sent down six aces in his first two service games and finished with 21 for the match, while landing 81 per cent of first serves in a dominant display.
During the second set, Kyrgios took a point when he surprised Broady with a mid-rally shot between his legs and then ripped a curling forehand down the line.
It was one of 41 winners for Kyrgios as he delighted his raucous fans, later describing his favourite arena as a "zoo".
And the fans certainly showed their appreciation for Kyrgios, with one even offering him a drink of beer while he was signing autographs after the match.
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 18, 2022
Kyrgios sniffed the fan's cup before offering a cheeky smile and sipping the amber ale, the funny moment lighting up social media.
However some questioned the wisdom of drinking out of a stranger's cup during the Covid era.
Before taking a swig of beer from a fan’s plastic cup on his way off court, Nick Kyrgios said on live TV:
“I served f****** well today” #AusOpen
— Neil McLeman (@NeilMcLeman) January 18, 2022
new life goal: feed kyrgios a beer court side https://t.co/40zsP6xWXG
— Alex Bruce-Smith (@alexbrucesmith) January 18, 2022
Nick Kyrgios’ first round match at the Australian Open:
Underarm tweener serve 😳
Hit the Ronaldo SIUU ⚽️
Drank a fan’s beer 🍺
Absolute box office. pic.twitter.com/s7iAzPJljC
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) January 18, 2022
Kyrgios took a sup out of a fan's beer 😂😂😂 this man is one of a kind!
— HARD 2 HANDLE SPORTS (@H2HSports_) January 18, 2022
Hahah Kyrgios just took a sip of beer courtside from a spectators cup after the win. What a mood, gotta love the guy.
2nd Round: Kyrgios vs Medvedev, absolute box office
— Bhargav Murali (@BhargavMurali1) January 18, 2022
— Lyndon Hall (@L_Hall91) January 18, 2022
At the Australian open, Nick Kyrgios, who tested positive for covid 1 week ago and is fully vaxed, drinks from a spectator's beer.
Meanwhile, Djokovic, who tested negative repeatedly in the lead up to the tournament, was banned from participating because he was unvaxed. https://t.co/Wxik8ULmhB
— Joe Quinn (@SeosQuinn) January 18, 2022
Nick Kyrgios in fine form after bout with Covid-19
Kyrgios looked calm and comfortable for the most part, without any of the major on-court drama that has hindered him throughout his career.
The impressive display came about a week after Kyrgios was bedridden with Covid-19 and just days after his isolation period ended.
"I had some doubts, a lot of messages (asking) if I was going to play, but I just couldn't ask for a better team," Kyrgios said.
"The last week has been tough, I did isolation, my girlfriend was there and I was lucky enough to have a tennis court just to hit some serves.
"Obviously I served f***ing well today."
It was Kyrgios' first match since September and the result snapped a five-match losing streak that dated to July.
He will now meet second seed Daniil Medvedev, who defaulted into favouritism after Novak Djokovic's extraordinary exit.
World No.2 Medvedev was runner-up to Djokovic at Melbourne Park last year before claiming his maiden major title by toppling the Serbian superstar at the US Open.
The Russian lost to Kyrgios in their two previous meetings - both in 2019.
"He's an amazing player," Kyrgios said.
"I knew that he was going to do some special things in this sport and he's won a grand slam.
"I know that I'm going to have to play some pretty good tennis ... and we'll see what happens."
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