Nick Kyrgios defeated Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (2) to advance to the third round of the Australian Open. The Aussie, a quarterfinalist in 2015, will face sixth seed Tomas Berdych in the next round.
Kyrgios Grabs Opening Set
The match started with both players struggling on serve. Kyrgios would get to 30-all on Cuevas' serve, with the Uruguayan getting to deuce on Kyrgios' serve in the opening two games. Both would hold to leave the score at 1-1. The only break came in the next game with a long rally ending on a cross court backhand by Cuevas that was called long. A challenge was made by the Uruguayan, which confirmed the call and Kyrgios had the lead. Easy holds were exchanged after that, Kyrgios with his at-love and Cuevas at winning at 15, with the Aussie holding a 3-2 advantage. Cuevas got his chance to draw level in the next game. It was a prolonged nine-point affair that saw Kyrgios swat away a break point with some fine net play. He held for 4-2, Cuevas would hold to 15, with Kyrgios maintaining his edge 4-3. After another exchange of easy breaks, Kyrgios to 15 and Cuevas to love, the Aussie stepped up to the line to serve out the set. He would easily close it out with his 7th ace of the match, the set was his 6-4.
Early Breaks Exchanged in Set Two, Kyrgios Wins It Late
Love breaks were traded to start the second set. With the score 1-1, Kyrgios seized the early lead as he broke Cuevas at 15 when the Uruguayan chipped a backhand long. Armed with a set and a break lead, Kyrgios and Cuevas swapped holds to 3-2. The next big moment of the set came in the following Kyrgios service game, with Cuevas building a 0-40 lead. The first two break points were wasted, but not the third, as Cuevas capitalized and the set was level at 3-3. The next four games would go according to form until Kyrgios seized his second break chance of the Cuevas service game at 5-5. He would capture the break and hold a 6-5 lead. He served out the set and built a two sets to none advantage.
Kyrgios Dominates Tiebreak to Close Out Match
Early in the third set, Cuevas struggled on serve and he would pay for his troubles. Kyrgios snatched the vital break to take a 2-1 lead. The Aussie held to love twice with tough Cuevas holds book ending those, the lead standing at 4-3. Kyrgios finally cracked on serve as Cuevas pounced to level the set at 4-4. After a tough Cuevas hold, he had his chance to send the match to a fourth set, but was unable to do so. The rest of the set went the way of the server and a tiebreak ensued. In the tiebreak, Cuevas slipped and fell behind a mini break at 3-2. Kyrgios would race through the remainder of the tiebreak, winning it 7-2 to book his spot in the Round of 32.
Kyrgios was solid overall with 19 aces. He had 50 winners to 27 unforced errors. He was broken twice, but countered with five breaks of serve on Cuevas.