TORONTO (Reuters) - Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios claimed another career first with an opening round decision over Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo at the Rogers Cup on Tuesday, setting up a meeting with twice grand slam winner Andy Murray.
The 7-6 (3) 7-5 victory made Kyrgios a winner in his ATP World Tour Masters debut but what the 19-year-old lacks in experience he more than makes up for in confidence, announcing himself ready to take on Murray, the eighth seed and a two-time champion on the Canadian hard courts.
In fact, it may be Murray casting a cautious eye in Kyrgios’s direction after watching the Australian knock off world number one Rafa Nadal and number 14 Richard Gasquet on his unlikely march into the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
“I’m definitely going to go into the match feeling like I’ve got a chance and I’m going to get some opportunities,” said Kyrgios, at number 70 the only teenager in the top 100 of the world rankings. “But, you know, it’s going to be one of the toughest matches I have ever played, so I have just got to be ready for it.”
Seeing his first action since his Wimbledon breakthrough, Kyrgios displayed a bit of rust rallying from a break down en route to taking the opening set in a tiebreak then wrapping up the match in a tidy one hour 35 minutes.
With each win comes more expectations but so does the attention and invitations to trade practise shots with the big boys like world number one Novak Djokovic and 17-times grand slam winner Roger Federer.
“On the court it’s not too different,” said Kyrgios. “Obviously a little bit more expectation but that just comes with the success.
“Off the court it’s changed a lot, especially back in Australia. You get noticed a lot. A lot of people come for photos and all that kind of stuff.
“I actually had a training week with Federer in Zurich earlier this year and that was probably the best week of my life.”
While life is good for Kyrgios, it was not a great day for the Canadian contingent on their home court as three of the five Canadian men in the field were eliminated.
Vasek Pospisil, a semi-finalist in Canada a year ago who was playing his first match since losing Sunday’s Citi Open final in Washington, fell 7-5 7-5 to 12th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Joining Pospisil at the exit were compatriots Frank Dancevic, a 5-7 6-0 6-3 loser to American Donald Young and Brayden Schnur, who dropped a 6-3 6-3 decision to Italy’s Andreas Seppi.
Latvian 11th seed Ernest Gulbis had smooth passage on another stormy day at the Rexall Tennis Centre easing past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-3 6-4.
Editing by Frank Pingue