Nick Kyrgios ‘tanked’ the second set of his Cincinnati Masters clash with Borna Coric but was unrepentant after emerging victorious, saying it was a “smart” move.
The Australian defeated the Croatian in three sets, winning 7-6 (7/1) 0-6 6-3 in their Masters event second round match.
Kyrgios showed his undoubted talent to win the opening set, taking the tie break 7-1.
But he didn’t take a single game in the second and admitted he was ‘tanking’, with his behaviour drawing gasps of surprise from the crowd on Court 10
The 23-year-old began to treat the set with utter disregard midway through, when a line call went against him; he subsequently fired a ball petulantly into the air before giving those in attendance a peek into his mind.
Kyrgios began chuntering to himself before talking to members of the crowd, asking “You wanna be a referee? You’re all eligible”.
At one change of ends, Kyrgios would look up at his team and declare: “You’ll never see a bigger tank than the next three games”.
At another point in the second, a crowd member called to Kyrgios: “Dig in Nick!” He responded with “It’s five to zero mate.”
Kyrgios, who had forgot to pack his trainers in his bag for his opening win over Denis Kudla, was also handed a code violation for striking a ball into centre court, before receiving a point violation for singing an expletive-filled song on court.
However, after falling to a 6-0 loss – with Kyrgios walking off court before Coric had even hit his final shot to close out the set – he responded to recover focus in the third, taking the deciding set.
On the subject of his second set ‘tank’ Kyrgios revealed that he believe there was no point in ‘wasting energy’ in the second set.
“I knew I was always going to compete in the third set,” said Canberrra-born Kyrgios.
“I competed too hard in the first set to sort of just let the match slip and not give myself a chance to win, at least.
“The second set, when I was 4-0 down, I knew there was no real point going out there and competing and obviously waste energy trying to battle back.
“I knew at 4-0, if I lost the set 6-0, I was going to be serving first in the third set. I think I carried a lot of momentum from the first game, and it ended up being a smart move.”
He is set to play the winner of Hyeon Chung vs Juan Martin Del Potro in the third round.
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