Nick Kyrgios was at his flamboyant best as he got the better of Frenchman Gilles Simon off court at the Australian Open on Thursday, with his raw talent shining through in front of an adoring home crowd in a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win.
The 24-year-old had the measure of the veteran early on then lost concentration and became agitated before refocusing.
The match was not without its moments of madness from Kyrgios, who yelled at his box and then later admitted he lost his way.
However, the Australian didn’t pass on a chance to take a dig at Rafael Nadal, with whom he shares a contentious relationship. The act got a response from his opponent Simon as well, leaving the bemused chair umpire smiling.
The incident occurred during the end of the second set, while Kyrgios was serving at 5-4 and got a time violation warning during his service motion. He protested by impersonating Nadal’s various tics in the lead up to his serve. Later in the match, Simon added on to it with an old habit of Nadal.
Watch the incidents below:
Kyrgios broke the Frenchman in the first game and consolidated by holding serve.
Kyrgios looked sharp and broke again for 5-2 then served out the set, sending down five aces and, crucially, making only two unforced errors.
Simon was struggling with his serve and the Australian broke again for a 1-0 lead in the second set, making some big shots when it counted.
It went with serve before Kyrgios, watched again by his ATP Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, won the set with another rocket serve.
He broke Simon again early in the third set, letting out a huge “C’mon!”
But the Frenchman broke back as Kyrgios started to lose concentration in game eight, berating himself and gesturing to his box as frustrations kicked in.
He lost the set as his focus drifted and he yelled at his box: “Of all the things you could say, ‘Stay tough’. Thanks man, thanks. That’s what I get, every break point, ‘Stay tough’. Wow.”
But the Australian conquered his mental demons to regroup, getting a crucial break to go 6-5 up in the fourth and completing victory with a big ace, his 28th of the match.