Third-seed Andy Murray put on a composed display to overcome the mercurial Nick Kyrgios 7-5 6-3 4-6 6-1 under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights to reach the second round of the US Open.
The 20-year-old Kyrgios showed off his powerful serve and groundstrokes but the 37th-ranked Australian frequently substituted efficiency for showmanship and failed to take advantage of his numerous opportunities.
Murray, the 2012 U.S. Open champion and 2013 Wimbledon winner, played straight man to the flippant Australian, who unnecessarily tried ‘tweener’ shots through his legs and jumped extravagantly on routine forehands that he buried into the net.
Still, he did have time to have a nap during the changeover after losing the first set to Murray, something which baffled and amused everyone.
The Scotsman had beaten Kyrgios in straight sets in their three previous meetings, eliminating him this year from two other grand slams, in the Australian quarter-finals and third round of the French Open.
“I expected a very tough match, and that’s what I got,” Murray, 28, said.
But Murray had the last laugh against Kyrgios as he blasted 18 aces and 46 winners while only committing 23 unforced errors under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“He’s unpredictable, he can play all of the shots and he’s a fantastic athlete,” Murray said in an on-court interview with ESPN. “It was a very tricky match and I just fought hard and managed to get through.”
Murray will next play French left-hander Adrian Mannarino, a 7-6 6-4 6-1 winner over Russian Konstantin Kravchuk.