Kyrgios cruises into third round
Nick Kyrgios was in fine touch in the Californian desert on Sunday, setting up a third-round blockbuster with Alexander Zverev at the BNP Paribas Open.
Nick Kyrgios stormed to a straight-sets victory over Horacio Zeballos on Sunday to commence his singles campaign at Indian Wells.
The Australian saw off the Argentine 6-3 6-4, a victory that sets up a third-round showdown with fellow young gun Alexander Zverev.
Earlier on Sunday, Zverev overcame Facundo Bagnis – also in straight sets – to reach the last 32.
Kyrgios posted a brilliant stat sheet featuring 25 winners – including 10 aces – to just 10 errors.
“I think serving is the key here. You’ve got to make a lot of first serves and try and play aggressive. And obviously I have been serving pretty well so I kept that up today, which was good,” he said.
Kyrgios, seeded 15th, began strongly against the 31-year-old Zeballos, cracking his serve and forehand with authority and breaking for a 3-1 lead.
Buoyed by a large, atmospheric crowd on Stadium 4 – as well as mum Nill and mentor Lleyton Hewitt in attendance – Kyrgios took the opening set with an ace out wide.
He broke in the fifth game of the second set to take command of the match.
Then, the slightest of wobbles. Losing his feel on his groundstrokes and facing two break points, a flustered Kyrgios eventually served his way out of trouble for a 4-2 lead.
Having re-settled, Kyrgios produced some improvised magic with a half-volleyed winner en route to a hold for 5-3.
Two games later, he claimed victory when Zeballos erred wide.
The winner of the Kyrgios v Zverev match will in the last 16 face the victor of the Novak Djokovic v Juan Martin del Potro third-rounder.
“I’m looking forward to (facing Zverev). We have been obviously close mates for a long time. I played juniors with him … he had a big game then. He’s obviously put it together. He’s had some great results, beaten some big names,” Kyrgios said.
“I know it’s going to be tough, especially on this surface. If he plays his aggressive game, it’s not going to be easy to get looks on his serve, and it’s the same for me.
“If I go out there and play my style of tennis and I lose, I won’t be surprised. But if I win, I won’t be surprised, as well.”
Kyrgios has been feeling the ball well this week at Indian Wells; on Saturday night he combined with Nenad Zimonjic to upset No.2 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan.
He felt his time on the doubles court was assisting his singles here in the desert.
“I’m trying to play more doubles, and I think that’s already helped me with my volleys and my transitioning game,” he said.
“But definitely on returns, it’s helping me return a lot better. I like to hit and come in a lot, so that’s helped me there a lot.
“My energy in doubles and the way I have been playing doubles is carrying over to my singles and that’s been helping me a lot.”