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As Nick Kyrgios waded through a long list of people he wanted to thank on Sunday after ending a three-year title drought by claiming the trophy at the site of his last victory, the City Open, he mentioned the match officials.
Then, catching himself, the Wimbledon runner-up added with a knowing smile: “The relationship with the umpires is still rocky.”
Kyrgios extended the best stretch of his career and delivered another performance that will make him a serious consideration at the US Open, saving the only break point he faced in the final en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Yoshihito. Nishioka at City Open.
“I think my motivation is higher than ever. … There’s a small window there; I have to take advantage of it,” said Kyrgios, who fell back on the blue court as the match ended, beating French Open finalists Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-5, 6. Defeated in 4 sets, Jack returned to the stadium in the evening to team up with Sock for the doubles trophy.
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“I don’t care what people say about my tennis, ‘always disrespecting the sport,’ that’s all, that’s it,” said Kyrgios, the first man to win the singles and doubles events in Washington in the same year. “I know, deep down, I really try to do it my way. I know I inspire millions of people and I’m playing for them.”
Earlier on Sunday, Lyudmila Samsonova won her second career WTA title by defeating sixth seed Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Citi Open women’s final.
Kyrgios’ seventh career tour-level singles championship, his sixth in 2019, came on the American capital’s hard courts in a tuneup for Flushing Meadows.
When Kyrgios was on his usual game, the serve led: He hit 12 aces and won 22 of 25 first-serve points. He won all nine service games against Nishioka, going 64 for 64 in the tournament, rounding out the week by saving all 10 of his opponents’ break points. The only match Kyrgios faced on Sunday came at 3-2 in the first set and Kyrgios fired it with a volley winner.
“I couldn’t figure out his service game,” said Kyrgios, the tour’s no. 1-ranked Nishioka and praised the 27-year-old Australian for being “more focused” than before in his career.
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Kyrgios managed to break 96th-ranked Nishioka of Japan and ousted top seed Andrei Rublev three times in the semifinals – in the opening game of each set and in the final game of the match.
It marks somewhat unusual consistency for Kyrgios, who came off a run to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Kyrgios received no ranking points for that performance – no one is awarded at Wimbledon – but a singles title in Washington would push him from 63rd to 37th, within shouting range of a possible ranking at the US Open.
“Hopefully,” Kyrgios said, “I can keep this momentum going.”
Play begins on August 29 at Flushing Meadows. A week after a court hearing was scheduled in Australia for common assault charges against Kyrgios.
Samsonova is a 23-year-old Russian who reached a career-best ranking of 25th in May but is currently ranked 60th after being required to sit out part of the season, including Wimbledon, due to her country’s attack on Ukraine. She used a powerful serve that reached 119 mph against Kanepi to power her way through the bracket at the hard-court tournament, including a win over US Open champion Emma Raducanu.
Samsonova’s other championship came last year at a grass-court tournament in Berlin. Kanepi, 37, from Estonia, was seeking his first trophy since 2013. He left the court for a medical timeout in the third set on Sunday with what he said was an abdominal muscle problem.
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“I predict a lot of matches and a lot of serving this week,” Kanepi said.
Kyrgios’ victory was shown on the Tennis Channel, which pulled the women’s final from its main station and aired pickleball instead — because, tournament chairman Mark Ein said, of a prior commitment.
It was big-serve, quick-strike tennis between a pair of women with similar playing styles on a humid, 90-degree Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) afternoon. Some spectators held umbrellas to provide shade; Portable electric fans were placed next to the sideline seats to give the players some respite during changeovers; Samsonova held a plastic bag filled with ice over her head.