Nick Kyrgios has claimed his maiden ATP title on home soil and first since 2016, combining casual flair with enormous power to beat Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2 at the Brisbane International.
The third seed combined casual flair with enormous power to beat Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2 at the Brisbane International in an ideal build-up to the Australian Open later this month.
And while he again played with his left knee strapped, Kyrgios is confident his body will be able to hold up to the rigours of best-of-five set tennis in Melbourne.
The 22-year-old staved off five break points in the first set, including three in his third service game as the American made a terrific fist of dealing with the booming Kyrgios delivery.
But the Australian held his nerve and pounced at his first opportunity to break, then raced through the second set as the world No.47 failed to keep pace.
“The way I put myself in some pretty tough situations, came back from a set down three times against three pretty good opponents, that’s just confidence mentally but physically as well,” he said of his week in Brisbane.
“I’m pretty happy with my performance today; he came out firing early.
“I didn’t know what kind of performance I’d put in, as the week went on I felt I was serving better and hitting the ball a lot better.”
A 17th ace sealed the victory in 1 hour and 13 minutes as he appeared largely untroubled navigating the court.
“The more the load, the more movement given, the better it gets,” he said.
“I played 11 sets (in the tournament) and feel good.”
In lifting the Roy Emerson Trophy, Kyrgios becomes the second Australian champion in the tournament’s 10-year history after Lleyton Hewitt in 2014.
The triumph, the fourth of his young career, lifts Kyrgios four spots to No.17 in the world ahead of this month’s Australian Open.
“He’s obviously very motivated and very comfortable,” Harrison said.
“You know, he’s going to be a danger to beat anybody that he plays whenever he plays like that.
“I think that it’s nothing new, though, for him.”