Nick Kyrgios is through to the semi-finals of the Miami Open after he beat Alexander Zverev on Thursday in a three-set thriller.
Kyrgios continues to tease fans that he is on the verge of screwing his head onto his body and focussing on playing and not everything else.
On Friday, he produced a dominant performance over Zverev, the German teenager who has been tipped by Rafael Nadal, among others, to be a future world number one.
Kyrgios’ showing was an interesting concoction of maturity, naivety, composure and flair.
A single break of serve at 4-4 was all Kyrgios needed to take the opening set.
In the second stanza, both players traded service holds to force a tie-break. And so the fireworks began.
Kyrgios was seemingly on his way to victory after jumping to a 6-4 lead, but he gifted Zverev a way back with a pair of unforced errors from the baseline.
The Australian then saved a set point down 6-7 with an ace and soon created his third match point up 8-7, but the tenacious Zverev ensured it came to nothing by chasing down a drop shot and ripping a backhand pass.
Kyrgios then denied Zverev of the second set with a strong first serve at 8-9, but the German hit a gorgeous topspin lob in the next point to go up 10-9 and finally converted on his third set point when Kyrgios badly missed a tweener attempt. Yes, a tweener attempt.
Unlike in previous matches where he has squandered big leads, Kyrgios remained calm in the decider. He crunched a forehand to get himself a break and a 4-2 advantage. Serving for the match at 5-3, he slammed a pair of booming first serves to wrap up an epic showdown after two hours and 33 minutes.
— Miami Open (@MiamiOpen) March 31, 2017
Speaking afterwards, Kyrgios admitted it was a tough encounter but explained that he was happy with how he responded during the big moments.
The 12th seed will play Roger Federer on Friday for a place in the final. Kyrgios won their lone meeting in 2015, prevailing in a third-set tie-breaker on the clay courts of Madrid.
Nadal meets with Fabio Fognini in the other semi-final.