Australian Nick Kyrgios is undeniably talented. He’s also exceptionally temperamental, mixing tantrums with impressive efforts like his victory over Rafael Nadal a few weeks ago at Cincinnati. His temper prevailed on Wednesday as the No. 14 seed was upset by compatriot John Millman 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.
Kyrgios was assessed a code violation for an audible obscenity during the third set and was docked a point for the second offense of smashing his racket. “The last three months, I mean, has really been a nightmare, really,” he said. He also insisted he’s not good enough to be coached by Sebastien Grosjean. “He probably deserves a player that is probably more dedicated to the game than I am,” Kyrgios said. “He deserves a better athlete than me. I’m not dedicated to the game at all.
“There are players out there that are more dedicated, that want to get better, that strive to get better every day, the one-percenters. I’m not that guy.”
Could he be that guy? “I always get asked the question, like ... I don’t know,” he said. “Probably not, honestly not.”
Borna Coric of Croatia stunned No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4), but Denis Shapovalov’s 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3) decision over No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France wasn’t a total shock because the 18-year-old Canadian has been playing well lately. Zverev’s older brother Mischa, seeded 23rd, advanced by defeating Benoit Paire of France, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 7-5.
No. 5 women’s seed Caroline Wozniacki faded under the lights in a second-round match on Court 17 and was dismissed by Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1, Makarova’s first victory in their eight head-to-head matchups. Also, Monica Niculescu of Romania upset No. 14 Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 26 Richard Gasquet’s loss to Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 is noteworthy because Mayer got into the draw as a lucky loser, when another player withdrew.
Her humor and leg are healthy
Nicole Gibbs, a graduate of the Crossroads School and Stanford, hasn’t had a lot of good news to share on her Tennis Channel series because she has been hobbled by a thigh injury. She created a happy episode Wednesday by completing a 6-0, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay in a match that was halted by rain on Tuesday. “I’ve had my leg taped for the last three matches now, but it’s felt better and better each day. So it’s not as though I’m taping it to stay attached to my body,” said Gibbs who got into the main draw as a qualifier.
On Thursday she will face world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, who stands 6 feet 1 to Gibbs’ 5-6. “Obviously a tall order, no pun intended,” Gibbs said. “I think at this point it’s all gravy. There’s several matches that I kind of gave myself a great shot at losing this past week, so all things considered, whatever happens I just go out and go down swinging and playing on my terms as much as possible against the Ace Queen, I think she calls herself.”
Maria Sharapova followed her first-round upset of No. 2 Simona Halep with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1 victory over Timea Babos of Hungary. “I think I need a little bit more time, a little bit more matches,” said Sharapova, who had thigh and arm injuries after she returned from a 15-month drug ban.
No. 3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain bageled an opponent (won a 6-0 set) for the second straight match in routing China’s Ying-Ying Duan , but Monica Niculescu of Romania upset No. 14 Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3, 6-2. Former USC standout Danielle Lao of Pasadena, making her U.S. Open singles debut at age 26, had several match points in the third set against Japan’s Risa Ozaki but faltered and lost the tiebreaker. Getting here was still a triumph. “To me this whole week has been like a dream come true,” she said.
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