Nick Kyrgios overcame a signature tantrum and his six-month sabbatical from tennis to set up a compelling Wimbledon match “to be continued” on day three.
- Nick Kyrgios has to wait to finish his first-round Wimbledon match against Ugo Humbert after play was called at 10.55pm local time
- Kyrgios, playing his first tournament outside Australia in 18 months, will resume on day three at 3-3 in the fifth set
- Australians Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt managed to finish their matches, winning through to round two
The Australian’s thrilling first-round encounter with talented young Frenchman Ugo Humbert was suspended at two sets apiece five minutes before 11:00pm local time because of a London curfew.
Kyrgios and Humbert were locked at 3-3 in the deciding set when officials called time out on a rain-marred day two of the Championships.
A vocal advocate of the tour not going ahead during the coronavirus pandemic, Kyrgios is playing his first tournament outside Australia in 18 months.
Yet the mercurial talent displayed few signs of rust in winning the first set in sublime fashion.
But he combusted after falling two sets to one behind, moaning about the apparent slower court speed.
“They’ve made it slow. This isn’t grass anymore. This is slow. Slow.
“Try watering it. Make it a grass court again, thanks.”
Grumbling over, Kyrgios then opened the fourth set in spectacular fashion.
After berating himself at the changeover and complaining about Humbert “playing too big”, he responded with three aces and another unreturnable serve hoping to make a statement stand.
It was more than a stand.
Kyrgios broke Humbert in the fourth game, then again in the sixth to draw level at two sets all.
But his momentum was halted when officials called an end to the day’s play an hour before midnight with the score 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 3-3.
Bolt, Polman make winning starts
Qualifier Marc Polmans and wildcard Alex Bolt kick-started Australia’s men’s challenge at Wimbledon, both powering to first-round victories to bring a bit of cheer at the end of another rain-soaked day at the All England Club.
Chris O’Connell’s bid to join his compatriots in the second round was put on hold again as a slippery court forced his five-set thriller with French star Gael Monfils to be called off for the night on Tuesday.
Polmans had hoped that he would draw Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s opening round — but the Victorian will be happy with his consolation prize as he triumphed in his first-ever match at the All England Club.
Melbourne’s Polmans, who is ranked 154, triumphed 6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 against Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun in two and a half hours to book his place in the second round of a slam for the third time.
In slippery conditions, and with the gloom gathering by the time he got on court several hours later than he’d expected, the South African-born player rated his triumph as the best of his career.
“I’m super-pumped to get through and with my first-ever win in the main draw at Wimbledon,” he said.
“It was extremely tough conditions, late at night and it was starting to get all dark and slippery.
“When he fought back to take the third set, I thought we’d be in for another long one. So I’m grateful I was able to close it out in the fourth.”
Bolt, a 28-year-old from Murray Bridge, continued an exciting few weeks after his triumph in a pre-Wimbledon Challenger event at Nottingham earned him a wildcard.
He cashed in with a surprise 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5 win over experienced Serbian world number 44 Filip Krajinovic, who’s ranked 105 places higher than the Australian.
Like Polmans, Bolt felt that winning a round at Wimbledon was probably the highlight of his career.
O’Connell’s match with 13th-seeded Monfils had been held over from Monday with the pair about to go into a third set tiebreaker.
When Monfils won the breaker 7-5, the Sydneysider had his work cut out but responded to win the fourth set 6-4, though he was down a break and 3-2 when the court was considered too treacherous for the match to continue.
Earlier Australia’s Alex De Minaur was sent packing in the first round by rising American star Sebastian Korda.