Nick Kyrgios has begun putting behind him the memory of last week’s Stuttgart meltdown with a solid start to another German event, in Halle.
Kyrgios, who revealed he was subjected to racial slurs during the Stuttgart semi-final against Andy Murray, in which he incurred a point and a game penalty, beat Germany’s Daniel Altmaier 6-3 7-5 on Tuesday.
“I felt pretty good,” Kyrgios, who did not face a break point in the victory, said.
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“I felt like I didn’t have my best serving day. But from the back of the court I did everything I could. Obviously it’s grass. And he’s a German, playing pretty free … he really started to get the crowd involved, got himself going. So I’m pretty happy with the way I closed that out.”
That earned him a second round tie against second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 6-3.
Tsitsipas, who also lost to Murray in Stuttgart, had to fight hard to beat the 52nd-ranked Bonzi in one hour 55 minutes to take his tour-leading tally to 36 wins in 2022.
Tsitsipas is bidding for his second title of the year and his first on grass.
“I can say playing him on grass for sure is going to be quite difficult,” Tsitsipas said of Kyrgios, against whom he holds a 1-2 record with one hard-court match in each of the past three years.
“I’m just going to go out there and enjoy myself. Let’s see what that brings.”
“He’s fired up playing on the grass-court season. I’m fired up too. I really hope to have a great match against him and be able to really sustain the level at its very highest.”
Third seed Andrey Rublev suffered an early elimination, losing 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.
The fourth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Marcos Giron 6-3 5-7 6-3 for a second-round clash with the sixth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated Danish teenager Holger Rune on Monday.
Sebastian Korda defeated Cristian Garin 6-2 6-3 but fellow American Maxime Cressy lost 6-4 4-6 6-4 to the fifth-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz.
Roberto Bautista Agut was leading Marton Fucsovics 6-2 3-0 when the Hungarian retired for the second successive tournament.