Canberra tennis star Nick Kyrgios has got his US clay season underway in fine fashion, recording a three-set win at the ATP Tour event in Houston.
The Aussie wildcard came from behind to defeat Mackenzie McDonald 4-6 6-4 6-4 in one hour 51 minutes.
Kyrgios, ranked 94th in the world, broke early in the final set and held off the American’s challenge to set up a last-16 matchup with either another local in seventh seed Tommy Paul or German Peter Gojowczyk.
After three impressive wins last week in Miami before he was beaten by Jannik Sinner in the round of 16, Kyrgios was confident going into the clash with world No.52 McDonald.
McDonald beat Kyrgios in straight sets last year on the Washington hardcourts in their only previous meeting and broke in the fifth game en route to taking the opening set.
The 26-year-old from Canberra responded by breaking in the fourth game of the second set and opening game of the third – the only other breaks of serve in the contest.
Kyrgios fired down 18 aces for the match and won it with a delicate forehand slice drop shot.
Australia’s Jordan Thompson is also into the next round after recording a straight-sets victory over lucky loser Steven Diez.
The 94-minute 6-3 6-2 win for the 27-year-old Sydneysider sets up a clash with either Cristian Garin of Chile or American Jack Sock.
World No.83 Thompson was solid on serve all match, sending down four aces and winning 85 per cent of points on his first ball in the first ever meeting with the Canadian on tour.
Another Aussie in Max Purcell takes on Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas later on Tuesday night.
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