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Nick Kyrgios goes into damage control at U.S. Open

Nick Kyrgios returns to Steve Johnson on the second day of the US Open Tennis Championships on Tuesday in New York.
Nick Kyrgios, returning a shot against Steve Johnson on Tuesday, tried to walk back comments that the governing body of the men’s tennis tour is corrupt.
(Jason Szenes / European Pressphoto Agency)

Nick Kyrgios tried to walk back his assertion the governing body of the men’s tennis tour is “pretty corrupt,” but the Assn. of Tennis Professionals said Wednesday it is investigating his comments. The 24-year-old Australian could face a heavy fine or a lengthy suspension.

Speaking early Wednesday, after he won his first-round match against American Steve Johnson, Kyrgios was asked about having been fined $113,000 for misbehavior in a tournament at Cincinnati.

“The ATP is pretty corrupt anyway. I’m not fussed about it at all,” he said.

In an effort to do damage control, he issued a clarification via Twitter, saying he had chosen his words badly while accusing the ATP of having a double standard by punishing him more harshly than it punishes other players for similar infractions.

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“To be clear I know I’m not perfect and do not pretend to be and I acknowledge I’ve deserved fines and sanctioning at times but I expect consistency and fairness with this across the board, to date that’s not happened,” he said.

That’s not likely to appease the ATP.

“The comments made by Nick Kyrgios after his first-round match in New York will be assessed under the Player Major Offense provision under ATP rules,” it said in a statement. “A determination will be made by Gayle David Bradshaw, executive vice president, rules and competition, following an investigation as required by ATP rules.”

Kyrgios has been fined more than $130,000 this year for actions including cursing at an umpire, smashing rackets and making a vulgar gesture. He was defaulted out of a match in Rome for swearing and throwing a chair on the court.

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Simona Halep wins in three sets against Nicole Gibbs, playing in her first Grand Slam since undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.

Rainy-day people

Rain limited play to the two courts equipped with a roof.

At Louis Armstrong Stadium, No. 2 women’s seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia needed four match points before closing out a 6-2, 7-6 (2) victory over feisty American Lauren Davis, whose movement was hampered by the wrap on her left knee. Winning in straight sets was progress for Barty, who needed three sets to get out of the first round.

“It was a little bit better. There were parts of my game that were better. There were parts of my game that I still want to clean up,” Barty said.

No. 3 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic served nine aces and capitalized on qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze’s six double faults in a 6-1, 6-4 second-round victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Players complained last year that closing the roof amplified the noise inside, and that’s still the case.

“You cannot change these things, so I just thought I just got used to it and it was fine,” Pliskova said.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Venus Williams fended off five match points before Elina Svitolina prevailed 6-4, 6-4. The crowd loudly favored Williams, 39, but she couldn’t avert another early-tournament exit. However, she’s not ready to walk away from the sport.

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“Today was a great match. It was well-contested and it was great to have the crowd behind me. It was just a really magical atmosphere,” she said. “I did a lot of things right today. A lot of great things to build on.”

No. 10 seed Madison Keys overcame a slow start to earn a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Zhu Lin of China.

“I feel like after I got broken in the first set, I feel like I played some really good tennis,” said Keys, the runner-up here in 2017.

Etc.

Bradley Klahn of Poway, who won the 2010 NCAA men’s singles championship while at Stanford, fought off four match points before No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan regained focus and completed a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 second-round victory at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Dominik Klopfer of Germany got past American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (2).

No. 12 men’s seed Borna Coric of Croatia (low-back strain) withdrew from his second-round match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.


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