Novak Djokovic survived a forehand onslaught from Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round. He could not withstand a serving clinic by Nick Kyrgios 24 hours later.
Djokovic’s rough draw at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel continued during quarterfinal action on Thursday and he was knocked out by Kyrgios 7-6(9), 7-5 amidst a dizzying display of aces off the 21-year-old Australian’s racket. Kyrgios sent 25 serves whizzing past Djokovic, put in 73 percent of his first deliveries, and won at least 75 percent of the points on both his first and second serves to prevail in one hour and 47 minutes.
“It’s what I dreamed of as a little kid, playing on these great venues against some of the greatest players in the world,” Kyrgios commented. “I never have a problem getting up for these matches.”
The stats certainly back up the world No. 17’s claim. He can always say he beat Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal in his first match again each of those all-time greats.
Kyrgios almost didn’t get a shot at Djokovic. The second-ranked Serb needed two hours and 38 minutes to outlast Del Potro 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday and he did not have quite enough in the tank physically or mentally to deal with a scorching-hot Kyrgios. Djokovic managed to stay on level terms most of the way, but an awful service game at 5-6 in the second set sealed his losing fate.
“I wasn’t thinking about winning at any stage,” Kyrgios noted. “I knew I had to stay in the moment because I’ve been in situations where matches have gotten away from me, so I had to stay switched on the whole time. I knew that if I just waited and waited, eventually I’d get my chance.”
He may get another chance against one of the aforementioned greatest players in the world in Saturday’s title match. That will be the case if Kyrgios defeats Sam Querrey and Nadal takes care of Marin Cilic in the semifinals.
The Spaniard earned his third straight-set victory of the tournament when he beat Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6(3), 6-3 on Thursday. Nadal bounced back from a break down in the first set and eventually got the job done in one hour and 57 minutes.
“It’s true that I played not that well like the days before,” the world No. 6 admitted. “For moments I was trying to hit the winner too early, sometimes too late. He played well. It was a tough match; I’m happy to be through.”