It was one of the most anticipated matches of the day at the Caja Magica, and in the end, it was Nick Kyrgios who won a two-set shootout over Stan Wawrinka in two tie-breaks — as he continued his run of upsetting the big Swiss names in the Spanish capital.
A lot of eyes went to the possible second round encounter between Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios when the draw of the 2016 Mutua Madrid Open was made on Saturday. After the Australian moved past Guido Pella in his opening round in straight sets, one of the more interesting matchups on the ATP Tour went forth into its fourth installment earlier today. With both men hitting big and serving bigger, it was always going to be a close match — and that’s exactly what happened.
“I mean I guess every time we play now, it’s a bit of a rivalry,” Kyrgios said. “I thought we were both respectful and the level was high. I just probably got up for this match probably more than I did for Guido Pella.”
In the first set, Wawrinka had four break chances, but the Swiss was denied his opportunities by the Australian’s big serve time and time again. Wawrinka was untroubled throughout the entirety of the match on his own serve but when it mattered most in the tiebreaker, the No. 4 seed blinked. The Swiss initially recovered from being two mini-breaks down in the first set, but dropped his serve again at *7-8 to surrender the opener by the slimmest of margins.
In the second set, neither Kyrgios nor Wawrinka faced any break points and headed into another tiebreak. Just like in the first set, the World No. 4 dropped two points on his own serve, but this time Kyrgios cruised towards the finish line, capping off the theme of the second set: he lost merely two points behind his own serve throughout the entire second set.
With the exception of his run to the final in 2013, Wawrinka’s results in Madrid have never been much to write home about and today’s loss was the 10th time Wawrinka’s been bounced before the quarterfinals in Madrid. For the Australian on the other hand, Madrid continues to bring in the big results — over Swiss players — as he also out Roger Federer in the same place last year.
In the players’ own words
On today’s match:
“I thought we both served extremely well — we both really had early looks early on but then I didn’t think one of us had really any chance on each others’ serve throughout the match. I thought the level was really high today, I thought we played some really good tennis. It was a lot of fun out there as well.”
On having to problem-solve:
“I know that he’s a tough player — he served unbelievable and he hits probably better than most guys from the back, so I knew I had to play the type of tennis to try and dictate. There were patches of this match where I couldn’t really do anything — it was all on his racket and I was just really trying to compete.”
On a potential match against Gael Monfils next:
“That’d be pretty special — he’s one of my favorite players on tour and he probably still is. I looked up to him my whole career and I think he’s one of the best athletes in the world– if I get to play him tomorrow, I’m gonna be obviously nervous; he’s my favorite player but it’s going to be a good match.”
On the Kyrgios serve:
“I think the level was good — I had some chances in the first set, was serving big in the big moments, just played better in a few of the important moments. His serve was tough to read in the fast conditions — [in] 7-6, 7-6, a few points can make the difference and he served better on those points.”