March 1, 2019 / 7:00 AM / 4 months ago

Kyrgios braves cut and cramps to down Wawrinka

(Reuters) - A focused Nick Kyrgios overcame a hand injury, leg cramps and a strong performance from Stan Wawrinka to prevail 7-5 6-7(3) 6-4 and advance to the semi-finals of the Acapulco International on Thursday.

Tennis - ATP 500 - Acapulco Open, Acapulco, Mexico - February 28, 2019 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in action during his match against Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka REUTERS/Henry Romero

The mercurial Australian, who defeated Rafa Nadal the night before in a match where the Spaniard later criticized Kyrgios’ on-court demeanor, outplayed Wawrinka in the match’s biggest moments despite playing in front of spectators who vocally backed the Swiss.

“I actually play better when the crowd is against me and giving me a bit of stink,” the 23-year-old said.

“I love it. It gets me going.”

The night did not begin well for the hard-hitting Kyrgios, who slipped while thumping a backhand in the first game, opening up a cut on his right hand that required medical attention.

Leg cramps followed in the deciding set but nothing could derail Kyrgios, who won his final service game at love to keep his hopes of a maiden championship at the tournament alive.

“In the first game I just tripped over. I’m not the smoothest mover on tour and I tripped over and grazed my hand,” he said.

“And the cramping was tough toward the end.”

Next up for Kyrgios is big-serving American John Isner, who fired 38 aces to dispatch Australian John Millman 7-6(2) 6-7(4) 7-6(4) in a marathon match to end the day.

Earlier in the hot and humid conditions Briton Cameron Norrie cruised past American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-2 to book his ticket to the semis.

Norrie will face second-seeded German Alexander Zverev, who did not face a break point en route to a 6-4 6-4 win over Australian Alex de Minaur.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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