Tsonga leaps, stretches, lunges in Australian Open comeback
- Author: Arturo Norris Jan 20, 2018,
Jan 20, 2018, 7:10
"People think I'm cool, but I wanted him to think I was the coolest person ever", Kyrgios said.
Kyrgios was pushed all the way by Tsonga, who was in impressive form himself, with both regularly exchanging blows throughout a fabulous night on Rod Laver Arena, which was enjoyed by a packed house including Hollywood megastar Will Smith.
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French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko's Australian Open hopes ended on Friday as the seventh seed was beaten 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 by Anett Kontaveit in a battle of the Baltic. Only one of them can reach the fourth round; Maria Sharapova meets Angelique Kerber to determine which one.
Whilst fourth seed Elina Svitolina came from a set down to overcome spirited Czech Katerina Siniakova 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Kyrgios, seeded 17, needed three tiebreakers to win a crunch match with the former finalist 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5) in 3hr 17min in a spectacular night match on Rod Laver Arena.
Kyrgios won his first home ATP Tour title at the lead-up Brisbane International and is looking to go further than a quarter-final appearance in Melbourne three years ago.
Nick Kyrgios didn’t seem too put off by the incident. Pic AFP
But he raised his game again in the clinches of the tiebreak, pounding a return at set point that ricocheted harmlessly off Tsonga's racquet. "Playing in this condition is of course very risky for the health of the player".
Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki also made it through.
There was plenty of chuntering from Kyrgios but apart from "freaking out" after a late lapse when he dropped serve at 5-4 in the third, he stuck diligently to his task. "When you've got the microphones working, the music and stuff kind of puts you in a rhythm every game and I kind of lost my rhythm a little bit". I just tell him, "Come now to see if you feel the pressure or not".
There was no real question of Mayer threatening an upset, as he had briefly at the US Open last summer when he won the first set of their third-round clash before Nadal's game clicked into gear. However, Nadal showed his class when it mattered, winning 7-4 to close out the win.
The victor of this match is likely to face Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, provided the Bulgarian gets past Andrey Rublev, the same man who beat him in the second round at Flushing Meadows a year ago. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.
"It doesn't worry me at all".
"Sorry but I really think this is really childish, this is an global sports event, not your own stage of your show", wrote another.