WASHINGTON (AP) – As Nick Kyrgios waded through a long list of people he wanted to thank Sunday after ending a three-year title drought by claiming the trophy at the site of his last triumph, the Citi Open, he made a reference to the match officials .
Then, catching himself, the Wimbledon runner-up added with a knowing smile: “The relationship is still difficult with the referees.”
Kyrgios extended his career-best run and delivered another performance to be reckoned with at the US Open, saving the only break point he faced in the final en route to a 6–4, 6–3 win by Yoshihito. Nishioka at the Citi Open.
“It’s very emotional for me,” said Kyrgios, who fell flat on his back on the blue court when the match ended, then spoke of what he called an “incredible transformation” for himself. He returned to that court that evening to partner Jack Sock in the doubles final.
Earlier on Sunday, Liudmila Samsonova won her second career WTA title by coming back to beat sixth seed Kaia Kanepi 4–6, 6–3, 6–3 in the Citi Open women’s final.
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Kyrgios’ seventh career tour-level championship came where his sixth came in 2019 — on the hard courts of the American capital in a tune-up to Flushing Meadows.
As usual when Kyrgios is on his game, the serve came through: He hit 12 aces and won 22 of 25 first-serve points. He won all nine of his service games against Nishioka, making it 64 for 64 in the tournament, finishing the week by saving all 10 of his opponents’ break points. All Kyrgios had to deal with on Sunday came at 3-2 in the first set and Kyrgios shook it off via a volley winner.
“I couldn’t figure out my service game,” said Nishioka, who ranked Kyrgios No. 1 on tour in that category and also praised the 27-year-old Australian for being “more focused” than earlier in his career.
Kyrgios managed to break Japan’s Nishioka, who is ranked 96 and knocked out top seed Andrey Rublev in the semifinals, three times — in the opening game of each set and again in the final game of the match.
It marks some unusual consistency for Kyrgios as he advanced to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Kyrgios earned no ranking points for that performance – no points were awarded to anyone at Wimbledon – but the singles title in Washington will push him from 63rd to 37th, within range of a potential US Open ranking.
Play begins at Flushing Meadows on August 29. This is less than a week after a scheduled court hearing in Australia on a joint assault charge against Kyrgios.