Nick Kyrgios has reminded Wimbledon fans of the destructive weapons that shook up the tournament last year by powering into the second round with a straight-sets demolition of Diego Schwartzman. A year after the towering Australian stunned then world-number-one Rafael Nadal to become the first man to reach the last eight on his Wimbledon debut since 2004, he cranked up the firecracker forehand to crush Argentine Schwartzman 6-0, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6).
“I’ve had a bit of a sinus infection and haven’t played much, but I’m getting better,” Kyrgios said. “I started unbelievably and hardly missed a ball in the first two sets. I’m feeling confident.” Kyrgios tore through the first set in 17 minutes, eased through the second and, after suffering a brief wobble in the third, sealed victory in a close-fought tiebreaker.
He took exception last week to criticism of his game management, but he showed great composure not to unravel after engaging in a dispute with the chair umpire and falling behind 4-2 in the third set. Kyrgios told Mohamed Lahyani – the Swede who presided over John Isner’s epic 11-hour win over Nicolas Mahut in 2010 – “I’m not playing” and demanded a rules official come to court two after an unfavourable line call put him down double break point.
“No, no, no. That’s not the rules. I will sit down here and wait until whenever he comes,” Kyrgios said, demanding a replay of the point. But he played on, dropped serve and then broke back immediately before taking the match in a tiebreaker. Kyrgios, 20, has yet to realise the enormous potential he showed in crunching through the Wimbledon draw last year, injury and loss of form interrupting his progress in 2015.
The world number 29 split with coach Todd Larkham a week before Wimbledon, but it seems to have had little negative impact if his 85-minute win on the opening day of the Championships was anything to go by. He had too much raw power for the 63rd-ranked Schwartzman who looked thoroughly out of his depth as the sun shone on Court Two and the yellow hordes of Australian fans serenaded their favourite to victory.
Kyrgios will play Germany’s Florian Mayer or Argentina’s Juan Monaco in the second round.