Nick Kyrgios has been handed a brutal reality check ahead of the US Open after suffering his most emphatic defeat of the year at the Cincinnati Masters.
Kyrgios bowed out of Cincinnati with barely a wimper as American Taylor Fritz blew him away in a 6-3 6-2 demolition job.
'EMBARRASSMENT: Nick Kyrgios booed by crowd over ugly act in Cincinnati
On a day when Aussie No.1 Alex de Minaur was also comfortably tamed by Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, Wimbledon runner-up Kyrgios was bundled out in just 50 minutes.
More concerning than the big-serving American's dominance in the match was the fact Kyrgios was clearly struggling physically, with the season's final grand slam less than a fortnight away.
Needing treatment on a troublesome left knee, it looked as if all the Aussie's breakthrough matches over the past month may have begun to catch up with him as he ended up not even able to rouse himself into any state of high dudgeon after some early rows with the chair umpire.
Some of the crowd in Cincinnati clearly weren't too impressed either with the amount of effort they'd seen from the mercurial Canberra figure as there were a smattering of boos at the end of the one-sided affair.
"He doesn't look strong enough to do it week in, week out," former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski noted on Amazon Prime.
"You can hear the boos around the stadium. They didn't feel like he'd given his best effort out there. But I think you've got to give him some slack ... he's given it a go."
FRITZ HANDS KYGRIOS HIS WORST DEFEAT OF THE YEAR! 🤯
It only took the American 50 minutes to defeat Nick Kygrios 🔥
He’ll face Andrey Rublev as his next assignment ✌🏻#Tennis #TaylorFritz #NickKyrgios #Rublev #Cincinnati pic.twitter.com/QQkmuQN76W
— Sportskeeda Tennis (@SK__Tennis) August 17, 2022
Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios been handed reality checks before the year’s final major, falling 6-3, 6-2 to Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz respectively. https://t.co/pwAlZJ1ZuM
— Qudach Australia (@QudachAU) August 17, 2022
— Western & Southern Open (@CincyTennis) August 17, 2022
— Vaibhav Sharma (@vaibhav_4x) August 17, 2022
Taylor Fritz destroys a tired Nick Kyrgios 6-3 6-2 and will play Andrey Rublev tomorrow in the R16. A rematch of the Indian Wells Semifinal. Taylor should go in as the favorite in that match.
— Vansh (@vanshv2k) August 17, 2022
Taylor Fritz just gave Nick Kyrgios his worst loss of the year.
— Relevant | Tennis Stats & Info (@RelevantTennis) August 17, 2022
Kyrgios had been on a roll with 16 wins in his previous 18 matches stretching back to the start of his famous Wimbledon run.
However, he appeared distracted from the start, muttering about it "being only a matter of time before it all unravels".
He started with a running argument with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein about his failure to control spectators moving about during points, telling the official: "Why don't you do your job properly?"
Kyrgios was also told three times by Lichtenstein not to keep swearing, although the Aussie got away with not receiving an official code violation.
In his first meeting with Fritz, he was broken in a careless sixth game, as he clearly started to feel problems with his knee.
Facing a gambler playing at double speed and serving up all-or-nothing double faults, Fritz remained calm amid Kyrgios's chaotic work, even latching on to his underarm serve to send a winner flashing past the Australian.
Alex de Minaur exits alongside Nick Kyrgios
Earlier, de Minaur was handed a similarly brutal lesson, with the Australian No.1 also going down 6-3 6-2 to Canada's Auger-Aliassime.
Just as Kyrgios had too much firepower for him the previous week in Montreal, the Sydneysider, who so often finds the very best in the business a step too far for him, was bullied by the young Canadian.
It was a dispiriting experience for world No.20 de Minaur, who, as ever, was not found wanting in effort as he tried to launch a fight back from 4-0 down in the second set.
Auger-Aliassime decorated his emphatic win with 22 winners. The 22-year-old's power earned him four breaks while de Minaur broke just the once when all was nearly lost at 4-1 down in the second stanza, a brilliant effort capped by a rocketing forehand.
But his resistance didn't last long as Auger-Aliassime quickly restored his supremacy, breaking for a 5-2 lead before wrapping up proceedings on his own delivery in just 78 minutes.
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