Precocious Australian Nick Kyrgios warmed up for an early season test against world No. 2 Andy Murray with an impressive come-from-behind win on the opening day of the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth.
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Kyrgios, 20, who raised eyebrows with his on-court behaviour last year, was too good for fellow young gun Alexander Zverev in a match that was played out at a frenetic pace.
Kyrgios dropped the first set but steamed through the second two to beat the teenage German in just over an hour, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Kyrgios will face Murray when Australia Green – one of two teams representing the host nation in the event – plays Great Britain on Wednesday, a match he said he was keenly anticipating.
“I have been looking forward to that for a long time now so I’m going to go and do everything I can to physically prepare for that battle,” he said.
Murray has won all four of their encounters, most recently at last year’s US Open, and Kyrgios has taken just one set off the Scot.
Zverev, at just 18, is tipped, along with Kyrgios, to be one of the stars of the men’s game for the next decade. He achieved the only break of the first set, but the volatile Australian kept a cool head to regain control of the match.
“I felt as if it was a lucky break in the first set, I played a couple of loose points,” the world No. 30 said. “I knew I just had to stay calm.”
Daria Gavrilova beat a rusty Sabine Lisicki in the women’s singles 6-2, 6-2, and Australia Green went on to achieve a clean sweep, winning the mixed doubles on a tiebreak, 6-3, 4-6, 10-7.
World No. 36 Gavrilova celebrated her first appearance for Australia with a comfortable win over a clearly underdone Lisicki.
The Russian-born Gavrilova only officially switched allegiances to Australia last month. For Lisicki, it was her first match since the US Open last September having been sidelined with a knee injury.
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