Two of the ATP Tour’s great entertainers did what they do best on Friday night in the Citi Open quarter-finals. Nick Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe put on a late-night show in one of the matches of the season, not taking their final bows until just before 1 a.m. local time.
Kyrgios saved five match points in a high-octane second-set tie-break before dominating the final set in a 6-7(5), 7-6(12), 6-2 victory, earning the right to remain in the spotlight as he drew the curtains on local favourite Tiafoe’s run.
Neither man led the crucial second tie-break by more than one point until Kyrgios won the last three to send the match to a decider. The drama of the tie-break — and the match — was equalled by its quality, with both competitors putting their shotmaking skills on full display throughout.
The highlight-filled contest included tweeners, drop shots, outrageous gets and unbelievable winners along with dominant serving from both sides of the net.
Kyrgios finished with 60 winners, including 35 aces, and took full advantage of Tiafoe’s dipping first-serve percentage to run away with the final set as he maintained his high level on his own deliveries. Tiafoe played his part with 33 winners, including 14 aces.
It was the second match win of a busy Friday for Kyrgios, who earlier put the finishing touches on a 7-6(1), 6-2 victory against fourth seed Reilly Opelka after yesterday’s rain. The 2019 Washington champion is seeking his first tour-level title of the season and the first since his D.C. triumph three years ago.
The Aussie will next face Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, who survived a stirring comeback attempt from American Sebastian Korda on Friday night. A 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 winner, Ymer let a double-break lead slip at 5-2 in the second set and led 5-1 in the third before closing out the win with his eighth break on his fifth match point.