And then there were two. Home-favourite Nick Kyrgios will meet American Ryan Harrison in the final of the Brisbane International after both mounted comebacks in their semifinal clashes. Kyrgios came from a set down to defeat defending champion Grigor Dimitrov, while Harrison survived a second-set tiebreak before ending the Cinderella run of Aussie Alex De Minaur. Here’s what happened on semifinal Saturday in Brisbane.
The more highly-anticipated of the two semis pitted top seed and reigning champion Grigor Dimitrov against third seed and local favourite Nick Kyrgios. Neither man had been in top form heading into the clash, both having needed three sets in all their previous matches to reach the semifinals. As expected between two of the tour’s more efficient servers, games were short and break opportunities were few and far between. No games went to deuce in the opening set and there was only one break point, converted by Dimitrov in the sixth game. That was enough for the top seed to take a one-set lead.
Kyrgios roared back in the second set. From 1-1, the Aussie reeled off five straight games, breaking Dimitrov twice, to send the match to a deciding set. The final set was nearly identical to the first, with both men cruising on serve. This time, it was the Aussie who struck the decisive blow. Kyrgios converted the lone break point of the set in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and never looked back. The third seed held his remaining two service game to book his place in his first final on home soil with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Kyrgios pounded an astounding 19 aces and won 82 percent of his first serves, while Dimitrov had more double faults than aces (six to five). Both men converted 50 percent of their break points, although Kyrgios only faced two, saving one, while Dimitrov only saved three of six. The match only took 93 minutes.
In the final, Kyrgios will look to stay perfect against the United States’ Ryan Harrison. Harrison, who has never beaten Kyrgios in two attempts, or even won a set, denied the home fans of an all-Australian final by putting an end to Alex De Minaur’s surprise run in Brisbane. The Aussie teen was contesting his first ever tour-level semifinal and got off to a good start, pouring pressure on Harrison’s serve before being rewarded with a break midway through the first set, taking it 6-4. After the pair exchanged breaks midway through the second set, De Minaur was two points away from a momentous victory at 5-5 in the tiebreak, but Harrison would hang on to force a decider.
The second set tiebreak shifted the momentum, as the more-experienced American raced out to a 4-0 lead in the deciding set, breaking the world number 209s serve twice. De Minaur would reclaim one of the breaks, but it would be too little too late as Harrison would hang on to reach his second career final with a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory after two hours and 37 minutes. De Minaur’s inability to save break points would prove costly, as the young Aussie was 0-for-3 when facing break point. Harrison pounded 14 aces and saved three of the six break points he faced in the victory.
Third seed Kyrgios and world number 47 Harrison will do battle in the final on Sunday. Kyrgios has won both of their previous meetings in straight sets, including their lone hardcourt meeting back in 2016.