Nick Kyrgios Wins First Career Title at Open 13 Provence 5 Points


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Unseeded Nick Kyrgios beat fourth seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the Open 13 Provence final to win his first ATP title. The Tennis Review gives you five points on a run that showcased some of the best serving, and returning, you are likely to see in 2016.

1.Kyrgios’ Serve was unplayable

On the medium-fast indoor Open 13 hard courts, the serve was always going to play a big factor in who emerged the eventual champion, and Kyrgios certainly helped his chances of being that player with some high percentage serving- his first serve percentage won was 75 in the final, 94 versus Berdych in the semis and 96 versus Gasquet in the last eight.

Kyrgios’ serving was so effective he was not broken once the entire tournament. He saved 3 break points in his opening matches versus Vasek Pospisil and Teymuraz Gabashvili and faced just 1 break point in his last 3 matches which was against Cilic in the final. He saved it with an ace.

In those last three matches, Kyrgios served 17 aces versus Richard Gasquet, including four in one game to serve out the match, (see Vine below), and he aced Tomas Berdych 15 times. In the final, he aced Marin Cilic 16 times and nailed the sixteenth on championship point.

2. Kyrgios’ Return was as strong on the return as his serve

Kyrgios may be better known for his serving skills than his return, (Kyrgios is not ranked in the top 50 for the ATP’s three return stats categories) but that might change after this week- he may become just as praised for both.

The unseeded Champion won all his matches in straight sets, and impressively, only one set, the final one, went to a tiebreaker, as Kyrgios broke his five opponent’s serves a total of 13 times in his run to the title. 

3. Kyrgios hit 36 winners to 12 errors in the final

Kyrgios also hit 34 winners to 12 errors in his semi versus Berdych. If a ball landed short on his side of the court, and Kyrgios’ big serving and aggressive shots meant they often did, then Kyrgios, more often than not, put it away for a winner. That’s the kind of play you need when it comes to beating players like Berdych and Cilic on surfaces that suit their own games so well, too.

Against Cilic, that ability to produce winners under pressure came into great play in the second set tiebreaker. Kyrgios’ winners included a forehand winner inside the court to lead 2-1 and an ace for 4-3. He also hit shots which while they may not have been winners, were as good as, producing errors from Cilic, such as a forehand angled cross-court at 4-3 that earned him a mini break and at 5-3 he hit a flat backhand down the line that forced a Cilic error to get a double mini-break.

On match point, Kyrgios was not interested in winning with anything other than what had become his signature shot- he thumped another ace down, this one out wide. 

4. Kyrgios is the youngest player since Juan Martin del Potro at US Open 09 to beat two top ten players back to back

At 20 years old, Kyrgios’ became the youngest player since del Potro to beat two top ten players back to back when he beat Richard Gasquet in the quarters and then Tomas Berdych in the semis.

Del Potro’s achievements were more illustrious- he beat Nadal and Federer on his way to the ’09 US Open title- but Kyrgios’ run is an encouraging sign that another youngster has the game to beat the top 10, and, hopefully, join them.

You never know the true value of a moment, until it becomes a memory. #thankyouMarseille #1 #jumpman #teamKyrgios

Posted by Nick Kyrgios on Sunday, February 21, 2016


5. Kyrgios won his first tournament on his 32nd try

Kyrgios is touted as a future slam winner, and so it is interesting to note when he won his first title compared to the current active slam champions.

It has taken 32 events for Kyrgios to win his first ATP title. It took Cilic 37, Wawrinka 36, del Potro 37, Murray 11,  Djokovic 17, Nadal 22, and Federer 41 attempts to secure their first ATP titles.

Those numbers means little really- many players win titles early on and do not progress to win slams- but considering Kyrgios’ game is able to dominate his rivals so brutally when on song,  Kyrgios is certainly on the right track by winning a title pretty early on in his career.

If Kyrgios can reproduce this form and his winner’s attitude, then the chances he could very well join that very exclusive Slam winners club one day look as good as he does carrying the Open 13 trophy in the tweet below.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.

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