Nick Kyrgios has set up a third round clash with world number three Dominic Thiem after coming through an epic five setter in the Australian Open.
The Australian looked down and out in the fourth set, facing two match points before forcing a fifth set decider against Frenchman Ugo Humbert which he went on to win.
The John Cain Arena was half full due to coronavirus restrictions, but you would never know it from the noise as the home-crowd loudly cheered and chanted for Kyrgios throughout the match.
Meanwhile third seed Dominic Thiem booked his place in the third round beating Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round and Dominik Koepfer in the second. The Austrian is yet to drop a set in the competition.
Speaking after his second round win, Kyrgios reflected on the importance of the match and admitted to being apprehensive about the upcoming head-to-head with Thiem.
“Now I feel old,” said Kyrgios. “I just want to have a glass of red wine after my match… I’m hurting thinking about playing Thiem right now.
“I don’t think I’ve saved match points at the Australian Open before, I’ve had match points and lost.
“It was a crazy one. I’ve been a part of many matches and this one is a match that I’m still kind of in awe about.
“The stadium didn’t feel half full, it was insane. I was just speaking to my physio, who has seen me play matches, epic five sets that had everything, and that match had everything. It is definitely one of my most memorable matches.”
“I felt like I didn’t have anything against him in the fourth and fifth sets,” said Kyrgios.
“I thought he was playing better from the ground and maybe I was serving a little bit better than him. All I had today was experience.
“I’ve been in so many big matches, on that court in particular. I felt like I was an old, savvy veteran who had too much experience.
“I don’t think he’s been involved in too many five-set matches, in Australia, with that kind of crowd. I tried to make him play and somehow got out of jail.”
Kyrgios was complementary of his opponent Humbert, who is currently ranked 34th in the world, 13 places ahead of the Australian.
“He is one heck of a player and I don’t think he is getting enough credit for the year he had last year. He is only going to get better. He is a really good player.
“He is a lefty, he has a really good serve, he can hit all the flat serves, wide on the Deuce [court], T on the Ad [court], unbelievable backhand, good forehand, volleys and he’s a good competitor.
“I think he is one to watch out for, he’s going to be very good. It was insane, he was one point away from winning and I hope he doesn’t take it too hard on himself. He just needs to keep his head up and he’ll do special things.
“In one moment in the fourth set, I thought to myself, ‘Dude, this could be one of the most memorable matches of your career. You owe it to yourself.’
“I put myself in a position to have moments like this and I keep surprising myself. I felt fresh in the fifth set, which is pretty crazy when I haven’t played for 12 months.”
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