Nick Kyrgios served under-arm once again but the fiery Australian fell away dramatically in the second set in a limp first-round exit at the Zhuhai Championships on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Australian, who has been accused of tanking matches in the past, led the veteran Italian Andreas Seppi 4-1 in the first set, only to go down 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.
Kyrgios, who has had numerous run-ins with tennis authorities down the years, elicited a few giggles from a sparse crowd in southern China with an underarm serve in the first set. Coasting 3-1 and 40-0 up, the 27th-ranked Kyrgios served weakly into the net, before surging into a 4-1 lead. But the Australian, who then appeared to be troubled by his right shoulder, faded alarmingly from there and his previously dominant serve collapsed.
He repeatedly felt his shoulder and his game disintegrated as he went down in the first-set tie break. The second set was a non-contest as Seppi, 35, ranked 74th in the world, strolled into round two in 65 unpredictable minutes. Kyrgios has divided tennis by serving underarm in the past, although it is within the rules, albeit rare to see from professionals. The Australian firebrand says he deploys it for tactical reasons, but Spanish legend Rafael Nadal accused him of "lacking respect" by doing it.
"To have a performance like that is pretty special," Nick Kyrgios said. "I don't take these days for granted," Nick Kyrgios said that to be issued a record $113,000 fine by the ATP for actions at the Cincinnati Masters was not a concern for him entering the US Open.
"Not at all. ATP is pretty corrupt anyway. I'm not frustrated at all", he said. He later added, "I'm fined 113K for what?"
Kyrgios smashed two racquets and used profanity in describing an umpire as a "tool" after being assessed a time violation in a loss to Russia's Karen Khachanov. He also called the umpire "rubbish", "a disgrace" and "the worst ref in the game."
(With PTI/AFP Inputs)