Tomas Berdych ended the Australian Open charge of young gun Nick Kyrgios in four drama-filled sets on Rod Laver Arena on Friday night.
A match that began in ignominious fashion for Berdych with a double fault ended in joy for the Czech after quelling the charge of the Australian 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
That wasn’t before Kyrgios sulked, shouted at the crowd, criticised the umpire and played some fantastic tennis. A regular night on court for the 20-year-old.
A sweeping forehand saw Berdych break Kyrgios in the fourth game on what was the first break point that had presented itself. It was clinical stuff from the Czech and – some serving troubles aside – was the story of the first set.
Kyrgios had two opportunities to break back but couldn’t, his frustrations boiling over for the first time when he smashed his racquet at 30-15 in the ninth game. Berdych remained cool and served out the set.
With the second set progressing on serve Kyrgios looked to force the pace in the seventh game, slamming down some booming serves, but Berdych only used this to his advantage.
It was here that Kyrgios took exception to a member of the crowd sitting in the first row who ill advisably pushed a ball that had nestle on the wall back onto court. It caused play to be called to a halt and Kyrgios had to serve again, none too pleased with what had occurred.
Berdych had three break points at his disposal and made the most of the chance, converting at the second time of asking.
It all appeared to be unravelling for Kyrgios when he became hugely annoyed with music that appeared to be coming from the crowd. Rattled, Kyrgios at one point dropped his racquet and repeatedly chirped at the umpire. He was playing on home soil, but the crowd was booing him. All the while Berdych remained unmoved and would go on to later seal the set with an ace.
But such is the troubled genius that is Kyrgios, he then began to play superb tennis.
Backed by nine aces and 13 winners while banking 86 percent of points on his own serve, the Australian vaulted back into the contest.
Two breaks of serve later and a delighted crowd roared as Kyrgios steamrolled through the set 6-1.
It appeared the momentum was well and truly with Kyrgios, with Berdych struggling to make any impact on his serve. And then it was over.
Seemingly out of nowhere Berdych was 0-40 and held three match points. He would only need two.
It was quality entertainment from start to finish, but the experience and extra class of Berdych triumphed in the end.
Catch all the action of the Australian Open from now until January 31st LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2. FOX Sports subscribers can watch all matches free on FOX Sports Play or on www.FoxSportsAsia.com