It was sublime, ridiculous, at times argumentative but most of all it was impressive.
- Nick Kyrgios belted 29 aces and 48 winners in his second round victory
- Five of seven Australians in action advanced to the third round
- Ash Barty said her win was not her best but downplayed concerns about her form
It was the Nick Kyrgios show and it rolled on into the third round at Wimbledon as the Australian defeated Italy’s world number 77 Gianluca Mager 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 6-4.
But to say the Australian had it all his own way for the entire match wouldn’t be entirely accurate, despite what was a high class performance at SW19.
In the first set in particular he was heavily challenged by Mager and just one day removed from a classic victory over Frenchman Ugo Humbert did not seem to be entirely dialled in for the second round match.
Early on Kyrgios could be heard to say “I’m still so tired from the last one” in reference to his five-set round one win before he spent a large part of the first set muttering under his breath about the speed of the Wimbledon courts.
He even had a lengthy discussion with a linesperson, who called him for a foot fault, before blasting one of what would be 29 aces for the match, a 222kph second serve.
He also picked up a code violation in the early stages of the match for yelling “f***”, it was followed by a quick “sorry” but the umpire gave him a warning for an audible obscenity anyway.
While Kyrgios was struggling to focus Mager was making all the right plays and looked like he might take the set when he took a mini break early in the opening set tie-break.
At 5-4 in the breaker it was Kyrgios though who rallied, he got the minibreak back and when it was 7-7 with Mager serving Kyrgios rifled a flat, hard forehand to pass the Italian.
He then calmly served out the set.
And it was the serve that left the Australian untroubled for the rest of the match.
While there were moments of brilliance with some drop shots and stunning passing shots from the 26-year-old Australian, Mager could do little without getting a look in against the serve.
Kyrgios was so good with his best shot that Mager didn’t get a single break point in the match despite hitting an astonishing 58 winners to 48 from Kyrgios.
Kyrgios was also miserly throughout only making 11 unforced errors across the three sets of high quality tennis.
Barty shrugs off errors to advance
Ash Barty has reached the third round at Wimbledon with a relatively straightforward 6-4, 6-3 win, despite having little idea about her opponent’s game.
The Australian world number one was up against world number 89 Anna Blinkova and admitted she did not know much, if anything about the Russian’s game heading into the match.
Barty was broken in the second game and had an uncharacteristically error-strewn start to the second-round clash, but rediscovered her form relatively quickly to close out the match in 90 minutes.
She did admit Blinkova being a relative unknown was a challenge and the match was closer than she might have liked.
“A few points here or there and it could’ve been a different story,” Barty said.
Barty finished the match with 33 unforced errors to Blinkova’s 21, but matched that number in winners, hitting 22 in the second set as she found her range.
Barty was not overly concerned by the errors.
“Yeah, tough one. A few things didn’t feel quite right today. That’s half the battle in sport, is being able to find a way when it’s not feeling all that great,” she shrugged.
“Not my best serving day. But that happens as well. I felt like I was just out of rhythm a little bit.
“You have those days where you feel like you’re eight-foot-tall and can’t miss the box. Other days you feel like you’re three-foot-nothing, just getting over the net is a bit of a battle.
Barty had her career-best result at SW19 when she last played there in 2019, reaching the fourth round, and said she was glad to be back on grass.
“I wish we could play the whole year on it. It’s been a long two years,” she said.
Barty’s next match is against 64th-ranked Czech Katerina Siniakova.
‘One of the biggest days of my career’
While Barty and Kyrgios were the big-name winners it was also a great day for some lesser-known Australians.
James Duckworth and Jordan Thompson claimed big upset wins over a pair of well credentialed tour veterans as they both advanced to the third round of The Championships for the first time.
Duckworth the first to book passage as he took down former Wimbledon semi-finalist Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-7(4/7), 6-3, 6-2.
It wasn’t like the match came without angst either for the Australian, who blew his lid in the second set, smashing his racquet in unconventional fashion, across his foot.
Not that it mattered, he went on to play some high quality tennis, using a lot of slice to move the bigger Querrey around and book a third round match with Italian 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego.
The 29-year-old Australian called his triumph one of the best of his career.
“I love tennis, I’ve thought about these sort of moments a lot.
“These type of experiences are what I think of when I’m doing surgeries and rehab. They’re what I train for.
“Sam’s a quality opponent, especially on grass. He’s got one of the best serves in the world so I knew I’d got my work cut out.”
Thompson was even more impressive.
One day on from beating 12th seed Casper Ruud in five sets, Thompson claimed another big scalp in former top 10 player Kei Nishikori.
Thompson, as he did against Ruud, looked unbeatable in the opening two sets and even had a break in the third before Nishikori came racing back into form and the match as he found his range on his groundstrokes and outhit Thompson from the back of the court to take the third set 7-5.
Thompson though steadied in the fourth as Nishikori lost his nerve.
The Japanese player practically gave Thompson the service break at 3-4 with a strong of unforced errors before The Australian served it out to win 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Like Duckworth his third round match is winnable, and is against Belarusian player Ilya Ivashka.
And in the women’s draw Ajla Tomljanovic made it to the third round of a slam for the first time since Roland Garros in 2014 as she fought off veteran Frenchwoman Alize Cornet with a 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 victory.
That win has earned her a third-round match with former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Fellow Australians Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt bowed out of The Championships with losses to seeded players Cristian Garin and Cameron Norrie