Melbourne Park, 9 December 2010 | Damian Terbiler
Fifteen-year-old Nicholas Kyrgios defeated two seeds on his way to a quarterfinal berth in the Optus 18s with his big shots and “no fear” attitude, however, this proved to be his downfall in today’s match against Maverick Banes.
Banes’s massive forehand and Kyrgios’s errors were the decision factors in an easy 6-2 6-4 win for the third seed, which sets up a semifinal match against Victorian Sean Berman.
The youthful Kyrgios had surprised everyone with his three wins in the Group stage, defeating his seeded rivals Alexander Bolt and Andrew McLeod.
Photos: Optus 18s Australian Championships
Although disappointed with his defeat today, he remained buoyant about his performance at the tournament.
“I knew my group wasn’t going to be easy to get through but I knew it was winnable so I just had to play some good tennis to get through, but Mav [Banes] was just too strong today,” he said after the match.
“I’m pretty happy and confident going into the 16s.”
Kyrgios plays an entertaining style of game, citing his tennis hero as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga because “he hits the ball with no fear”.
He certainly plays an exuberant style of tennis not unlike the enigmatic Tsonga, hitting the lines, attempting big serves and serve-volleying – an art almost lost in modern tennis.
However, today his youth, inexperience and poor choice of shots let the more seasoned Banes control the rallies and dictate play from the baseline.
When questioned what he could work on, Kyrgios admitted he had to “maybe not go for so much and train harder so I can handle some of the heavier balls that Mav hits.”
Banes is in ominous form, with his forehand consistently firing winners down the line and crosscourt, but was full of respect for his younger counterpart.
“I knew Nick had been playing well all week … I was trying to get around and control the point as much as I could because I knew Nick, when he’s in control, hits a pretty good ball,” he said.
Banes is quietly confident going into his semifinal against feisty second seed and Australian Open 2010 juniors finalist Berman, which will be played tomorrow.
“Every match is going to be tough from here on in, so if I play some good tennis hopefully I can win it,” he said.
Kyrgios will now focus on the Optus 16s and will be one to watch at next year’s Optus 18s.
Draws and scores
18s boys’ singles draws and scores
18s girls’ singles draws and scores
18s boys’ doubles draws and scores
18s girls’ doubles draws and scores