Kyrgios Serves Up His Second Citi Open Title

Nick Kyrgios (photo: Richard Kessler/Citi Open)

WASHINGTON, August 8, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Nick Kyrgios completed a flawless week in the nation’s capital city to win the Citi Open Sunday evening.

Gifted on the court but often mercurial, too, Kyrgios kept his combustible self in check throughout his winning run during the ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C. that is the first big tune-up for the US Open, which begins in three weeks. Sure there were the inner monologues, but … that’s Nick being Nick.

In a battle among unseeded finalists, the 63rd-ranked Kyrgios defeated No. 96 Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, 6-4, 6-3, to win his seventh tour-level title of his career. It was his second Citi Open championship and came three years after he beat current World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev for the crown in 2019.

A box office fixture on the Stadium court at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center in northwest Washington, D.C., Kyrgios completed victories over Marcos Giron, No. 14 seed Tommy Paul, No. 4 seed Reilly Opelka, No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe, Mikael Ymer and, finally, Nishioka, in which he dropped just one set. His serve was never broken – he saved all 10 break points he faced – and he amassed a tournament-best 96 aces, including 12 in the title match. Against Tiafoe, he saved five match points in their epic three-set, late-night quarterfinal on Friday.

Against Nishioka, Kyrgios saved the only break point he faced at 3-2 with a serve and volley on a very heavy-kick second serve. To his credit, the diminutive Nishioka didn’t back down and stayed with Kyrgios until the very end. The Canberra native, who controlled the tempo of the final throughout, put away the victory after he struck an inside-out forehand return that Nishioka erred on. It was the fourth straight time Kyrgios had beaten his Japanese opponent.

“[I] couldn’t figure out how to beat Kyrgios today,” Nishioka said in press, resigned but pleased with how he fared this week overall. “But you know, I try my best what I can do today, and then still he was playing better than me, which is very tough day. But I’m very happy to play [the] final here.”

Upon securing championship point, Kyrgios collapsed on the floor of the Stadium court in celebration of his triumph as the crowd of 7,500 applauded their champion. After Kyrgios got back on his feet, he kept it simple and showed great sincerity – tapping his racquet and touching his heart several times while turning to face the crowd in each direction.

“It’s emotional for me to be back here again and claim another title,” the 27-year-old Kyrgios said after accepting his second Citi Open trophy. He gave thanks to many, including his girlfriend, trainer and agent – his team – while also remembering to share plaudits with Mark Ein, the Citi Open chairman, other tournament officials, volunteers and, just as importantly, the fans. After all, they’re the ones whom he is putting on a show for each time he walks out on the court.

During his on-court interview with ATP media, Kyrgios spoke about emotions. “To see where I was at last yer to now, it’s just an incredible transformation,” he said. “I just came out with great energy. I knew that I had experience on my side today. I love this court. I’ve played so many good matches here, so I’m just really happy with myself.

“I’ve been in some really dark places,” Kyrgios added. “Just to be able to turn it around. … There are so many people who have helped me get there, but myself, I’ve shown some serious strength to just continue and persevere and get through all those times and be able to still perform and win tournaments like this one.”

Later in press, before it was time to fly off to Montreal and start a fresh week with another important tournament, Kyrgios spoke about maturing as a person and player.

“You know, I wouldn’t even say I’m playing for myself at this point,” he said. “I just want to go out there, have fun, try my best, and do it my way. I think that people are starting to see that a little bit more.”

Kyrgios completes Washington sweep by winning doubles with Sock

Shortly after Nick Kyrgios secured his second Citi Open singles title in three years, he returned to win the doubles title with American Jack Sock. The formidable Aussie/American duo defeated Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek of the United States, 7-5, 6-4, in an hour and 19 minutes. Kyrgios and Sock outpointed Dodig and Krajicek 64-53.

Kyrgios, who secured match point with his team’s ninth ace, became the first player to sweep the singles and doubles titles in the 53-year history of the Citi Open.

“I’m really happy to take home both titles,” said Kyrgios, who improved to 4-0 in tour-level doubles finals. “Hopefully, I can keep this momentum going.”

In giving props to Dodig and Krajicek, the fourth seeds who earlier in the season won this year’s Lyon title and reach the final at Roland Garros, Sock said: “We knew it was always going to be a tough match against you guys. We had to definitely play our best today to have a chance.

“I’ve got to thank Nick for sticking it out. Most guys wouldn’t do that. It’s fairly hot and humid here in D.C., so I wasn’t expecting him to be too fresh for the doubles. He came out with full energy every time, which says a lot about what [he’s] doing on and off the court,

Kyrgios, who won titles with fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open and the Atlanta Open earlier this season, added: “It’s been a hell of a week, singles and doubles. I probably would have pulled out of doubles earlier on if it wasn’t for Jack.”

Krygios and Sock improved to 19-4 as a team, including 4-1 this season. They previous won at Lyon in 2018. Kyrgios has won four tour-level double titles and Sock now owns 17 crowns.

By the numbers

With his second Citi Open title secured, Nick Kyrgios moves up 26 places to No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. He’s won 11 of his last 12 matches, his only setback coming in the Wimbledon final last month against Novak Djokovic. Kyrgios also advances 24 places to No. 21 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Turin.

“Quotable …”

“When I’m in Washington, I kind of feel like it’s home. It’s not as busy as, say, New York or Atlanta or Miami. It’s a bit more almost timid-like. It’s quiet, a lot of greenery. Feels like home.

“I really enjoyed it. We had a couple days at the start of the tournament when we were doing some sightseeing, so enjoyable, added some great restaurants. Just had a great time.”

Nick Kyrgios, during his post-match press conference, in which he compared his home town, Canberra, to Washington, D.C.