Nick Kyrgios slammed his performance as “terrible” after battling to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Maximilian Marterer at the Stuttgart Cup on Thursday.
Making his return to grass and playing his first match on any surface in two months, Kyrgios did not have many opportunities against local favourite Marterer, but solitary breaks in the first and third sets ultimately handed him the Australian victory and a place in the quarter-finals.
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“It was a terrible match, the only thing that kept me in it was my serving,” said Kyrgios, who fired a whopping 20 aces during the contest.
“Nothing went very well for me, the good thing is my elbow didn’t bother me.
“Basically, I didn’t feel great out there, today was pretty average,” the fourth seed added. “And the last three months have been brutal.”
Kyrgios moves on to face Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who beat Gilles Simon 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.
Also in action on Thursday was Milos Raonic, another player on the injury comeback trail.
The seventh-seeded Canadian looked in good nick as he defeated Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 6-4.
Third seed Tomas Berdych also booked his place in the last eight with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 victory over Benoit Paire.
Top seed Roger Federer had the day off but he returns to action on Friday to take on Guido Pella for a place in the semi-finals.