Kyrgios survives scare in lively Open win

·4-min read

Asthma-suffering Nick Kyrgios has defied the waft of cannabis, a spirited opponent and non-conforming box to scrape into the US Open third round at Flushing Meadows.

It was hardly a smoking performance but Kyrgios did enough to hold off Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 4-6 6-4 and join Australian No.1s Alex de Minaur and Ajla Tomljanovic in the last 32.

It was anything but straightforward, with Kyrgios needing 30 aces and "some really risky tennis" to prevail.

Ben Simmons was a guest in the house as NBA lover Kyrgios engaged in what has become a customary verbal battle with his entourage, at one point saying they "may as well go home".

The combustible Canberran accused his support network "for some sick reason" of falling asleep late in the third set, demanding they be more vocal.

He also received a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct in a tense affair against a rising talent who caught the Wimbledon finalist off guard.

"His level today was incredible. I was not expecting an absolute war," Kyrgios said.

"I played some really risky tennis in the fourth set to get through. I was literally hanging by a thread.

"Four-all, love-40 fourth set - I was almost gearing myself up for a fifth set."

Kyrgios was agitated throughout, but rarely more so than midway through the second set when he pleaded with the chair umpire to do something about apparent pot-smoking spectators.

Marjiuana was legalised in New York last September but Kyrgios made it clear the dirty habit wasn't welcome at the Open.

"People don't know I'm a heavy asthmatic," he said.

"When I'm running side to side, I'm struggling to breathe, probably not something I want to be breathing in in between points.

"Yeah, US Open, it's a very different vibe to everywhere else.

"It's just like noisy. Point in, point out, I can't barely hear. Half the time I can't even hear my team because it's so noisy all the time.

"Ashe was unbelievably noisy. I couldn't hear anything. Constant jitter. Things going off, sirens. In Armstrong today, hearing trains and people.

"For someone that's struggled to focus in my career, I'm really trying hard to put my head down and play point by point, try to dig myself out of some certain situations. It's hard because there's a lot of distractions."

Spanish umpire Jaume Campistol asked fans "as a courtesy to the players, please refrain from smoking around the court."

Kyrgios duly fired up to grab the lone break of the second set in the 10th game to seemingly seize control.

But he threatened to completely unravel after losing the third set and falling a break behind in the fourth.

The world No.23 knuckled back down, though, to win four of the next five games to take the match in a tick under three hours.

He next plays American wildcard J.J. Wolf on Friday (Saturday AEST) for a spot in the second week in New York for the first time.

De Minaur earlier avenged a gut-wrenching five-set Wimbledon loss to Cristian Garin with a 6-3 6-0 4-6 6-2 defeat of the Chilean, while Jason Kubler completed a rain-interrupted 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-4 first-round victory over Swede Mikael Ymer.

But Jordan Thompson bowed out with a 6-3 2-6 3-6 6-4 6-3 second-round loss to Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahl Galan.

And Tomljanovic earned herself a crack at retiring great Serena Williams with a fighting 1-6 6-2 7-5 win over Russian Evgeniya Rodina.


Men's singles, second round

18-Alex de Minaur bt Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-3 6-0 4-6 6-2

23-Nick Kyrgios bt Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 4-6 6-4

Jordan Thompson lost to Daniel Elahl Galan (COL) 6-3 2-6 3-6 6-4 6-3

Men's singles, first round

Jason Kubler bt Mikael Ymer (SWE) 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-4

Women's singles, first round

Ajla Tomljanovic bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 1-6 6-2 7-5