AN in-form Nick Kyrgios has claimed a straight sets win over Argentina's’s Horacio Zeballos.
He now moves into the third round of the US Open.
It will mark an appearance in the last 32 of all four grand slam events in a single season for the first time.
Zeballos’s impressive first-round victory on Tuesday was his first at a grand slam in more than three years and just his fifth at major level in a 13-year pro career.
No. 14 seed Nick Kyrgios prevailed in a battle of serves against a dangerous Horacio Zeballos, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, in the second round on Thursday, putting the Australian into the third round at the US Open for the second time in three years.
Zeballos proved to be a formidable opponent for the world No. 16, firing winners from the baseline at will, and at times having a little fun by attempting a no-look 360-backhand shot from the baseline. But in this highly competitive match, Kyrgios had the upper hand with 27 aces, 48 winners and a first-serve win percentage of 94.
This second-round clash was a contrast of games and personalities in the US Open’s new Grandstand. Zeballos wore traditional, subdued red, white and blue while Kyrgios was clad in a flashy yellow kit that was as loud as the fiery emotions he wore on his sleeve. While Kyrgios audibly talked to himself throughout the match, Zeballos was silent, letting his racquet do all the talking. But one thing both men had in common was a high level of quality tennis punctuated with clutch serving.
Kyrgios played in a hurry to open the match, wasting little time between serves and looking like he wanted to get home in time for dinner. His aggressive play paid off late in the first set, when he broke the Argentine to earn a chance to serve for the set at 6-5, which he did fairly easily to seal the lead.
The server’s duel continued in set two until again Zeballos cracked, netting a backhand volley to give the Aussie a 4-3 lead. Two games later, Kyrgios served for the set at 5-4 and fought off a tenacious return game from the Argentine to go up two sets. The third and final break of the match came midway through the third set, when Kyrgios took a 3-2 lead that he did not relinquish for the rest of the match.
WHAT IT MEANS: Kyrgios continues his successful summer, which has included a title in Atlanta and a career-high No. 16 in the ATP rankings. Thursday’s win equals his best US Open result, which came in the third round in 2014. Kyrgios will next face either Illya Marchenko or Damir Dzumhur.
Zeballos leaves New York having broken through the first round of the US Open for the first time since 2009.