Nick Kyrgios mixed up his service pace and attacked the net to beat in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for a second-round meeting against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud. The Australian opened his account at the Foro Italico in Rome with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over the No. 12 seed, who has amassed the second-most wins (25) on the ATP Tour in 2019, trailing only Stefanos Tsitsipas (with a 27-10) record.
Kyrgios wrapped up the first set in 31 minutes, which included a service break in the fourth game and 15 winners. Medvedev, who received on-court treatment for a lower back injury prior to the start of the second set, converted his second break point chance – when Kyrgios first appeared to be striking an underhand serve – for a 5-3 lead, then remained focus to take the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting to a decider.
Medvedev, who had committed just three unforced errors in the 31-minute set, finishing with a forehand winner, made three errors in the second game of the decider and let Kyrgios back in. At 4-2, Kyrgios sent down a big second-serve ace and kept Medvedev on the move to recover from 15/40, effectively ending the Russian's hopes of a comeback. Kyrgios struck 15 aces and 41 winners overall.
The 24-year-old Kyrgios won his fifth ATP Tour title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (d. Zverev) in February, saving three match points against Nadal and earning three Top 10 wins during the week. He is now 10-6 on the season after his one-hour and 34-minute victory over Medvedev, who is currently in sixth position in the ATP Race To London for one of the eight singles spots at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November.
David Goffin got the better of Stan Wawrinka in a clash between two former Top 10 stars early on Tuesday with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 victory in one hour and 56 minutes. Goffin goes onto play seventh-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the second round.
Goffin told ATPTour.com, “It was a tough one. It was not easy in the first set because he was serving really well, so I was under pressure in my service games. So I knew that just a small mistake and I could lose the first set. So it was not easy... not a lot of rallies because he was serving really well.
So I needed to have some tough rallies to feel great, with my groundstrokes, and that's what I had at the beginning of the second with the early break and then I started to play much better, more solid. And then I showed him I was more solid, and he started to maybe go too quickly for the shot and pull the trigger maybe a little bit early. He started to miss a lot and I felt it, so I started to play much better towards the end and I used the drop shot really well.”
The first set ended with three consecutive service breaks, then Goffin lost just 12 points in the second set and it wasn’t until the opening game of the decider that Wawrinka held serve. Wawrinka, who is back in the Top 30 of the ATP Rankings (at No. 29) for the first time since 28 May 2018 reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Foro Italico in 2008 (l. to Djokovic).