New York, USA, 30 August 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis took centre stage on day one at this year’s US Open.

The Special K’s highly anticipated first-round showdown was played at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York this evening, in front of the tournament’s biggest-ever opening-night crowd.

The close friends are used to sharing the court, memorably teaming up to claim the Australian Open doubles title earlier this season. However, this was only their third singles clash in their professional careers, and first in more than eight years.

And as Kokkinakis quickly discovered, it is much more enjoyable being on the same side of the court.

World No.25 Kyrgios proved too hot to handle, powering to a 6-3 6-4 7-6(4) victory in two hours.

“I thought I played a really good first couple of sets, got on top of the match early,” Kyrgios said.

“When we both saw the draw, it was a nightmare, honestly. We never want to play each other, and he probably beats 80 percent of the draw tonight, he’s been playing really good. I’ve just got so much respect for him.

“I can’t wait to get out there and play doubles with him on the right side of the net.”

Kyrgios took the opening set in 30 minutes, with only a single break required to gain an important edge.

The Wimbledon 2022 finalist, who entered the tournament with 22 wins from his past 27 matches, continued to stamp his authority on the match and broke Kokkinakis’ serve to love to open the second set.

Although Kokkinakis kept pushing, the world No.70 couldn’t reel in his confident opponent.

“We just know each other’s games like the back of our hands,” Kyrgios said. “We’ve played together since we were about nine years old … I just played the bigger points well early on.”

Kyrgios finished the match with 42 winners to Kokkinakis’ 30. The 27-year-old was dominant on serve as well, not facing a single break point.

The impressive victory moves Kyrgios into the second round, where he’ll face world No.50 Benjamin Bonzi. It will be his first career meeting with the 26-year-old Frenchman.

Kyrgios is the fourth Australian winner on day one at Flushing Meadows.

Earlier today, Alex de Minaur comfortably dispatched world No.44 Filip Krajinovic in straight sets and Jordan Thompson staged a remarkable comeback to beat Italian Lorenzo Sonego in a five-set battle.

> READ: Thompson recovers from two-set deficit in gallant victory

In women’s singles action, Ajla Tomljanovic advanced to the second round with a hard-fought win against former top 20-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova.

Aussies in action – US Open

Men’s singles, first round
[23] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-3 6-4 7-6(4)
[18] Alex de Minaur (AUS)
 d Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 7-5 6-2 6-3
Jordan Thompson (AUS) d Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 2-6 1-6 6-2 6-4 6-4
[WC] Emilio Nava (USA) d John Millman (AUS) 7-6(7) 4-6 7-6(4) 1-6 6-1

Women’s singles, first round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d Karolina Muchova (CZE) 6-3 7-6(5)
Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU) d Daria Saville (AUS) 3-6 6-2 6-4

Men’s singles, first round

James Duckworth (AUS) v Chris O’Connell (AUS)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
 v Tseng Chun-hsin (TPE)
Jason Kubler (AUS) v Mikael Ymer (SWE)
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Men’s singles, second round
[18] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Cristian Garin (CHI)
[23] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Benjamin Bonzi (FRA)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [Q] Daniel Elahi Galan (COL)

> VIEW: US Open 2022 men’s singles draw

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) v [Q] Yuan Yue (CHN)

Women’s singles, second round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v Evgeniya Rodina

> VIEW: US Open 2022 women’s singles draw

> READ: US Open 2022 doubles draws revealed

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