Without theatrics and drama, just with pure, no-frills pleasure, Nick Kyrgios roared into the semi-finals of the indoor grass court tournament.
The Aussie, so often distracted from his own brilliance by unnecessary distractions, was the paragon of no-nonsense focus on Friday – with just the odd showman trick or two – as he defeated top-20 baseliner Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 , 6-2 blew away.
Kyrgios is close to his first final on grass, but Halle’s wildcard debutant must first beat Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in Saturday’s semi-finals.
The Australian No. 2 has rarely looked so impressive all season as he swept aside world No. 19 and delivered a flawless demonstration of his serve that pretty much overwhelmed the Spaniard.
He hit 13 aces – usually one of which was a forearm sneaker, which garnered a few hoots from the crowd – and didn’t serve doubles while conceding just seven points from his own delivery.
He is now just one game away from his first final since July 2019 when he defeated Daniil Medvedev for the Washington hard court trophy.
And also Russia’s world no Karen had defeated Khachanov by 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.
Kyrgios scored break points in Carreno Busta’s opening game but roared to himself when he didn’t pay off. It was the only time he seemed to berate himself when he made his move stunningly in game five, with winners aflame on both wings that earned him a break for love.
He then produced an outrageous tweener in the next game that surprised Carreno Busta enough to inflate his follow-up shot.
On the whole, however, there wasn’t much showboating from Kyrgios, just a string of stunning winners – 39 in total. Perhaps more striking was the sheer discipline of his game, as he only made four unforced errors.
Kyrgios roared with delight after forcing Carreno Busta to put in a long volley early in the second set as he earned the crucial break. After that he was unconcerned and sealed the win in just 68 minutes.
“I’m definitely happy with the way I play. I feel so comfortable on the pitch,” said Kyrgios, who also reached the semifinals in Stuttgart last week.
“The score suggested it was easy, but he’s a dangerous player on all surfaces and knows how to win games, so I knew I had to watch my serve and just be held from the ground.”
Kyrgios said his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the previous round had a very different feeling when he conceded a code violation due to tension as he smashed his racquet in frustration.
“Well I won pretty easily (today), I didn’t lose the first set,” he shrugged. “I wanted to get the first set against Tsitspias. I know how much it means to pass these top players early on, but I put so much pressure on his serve from the start today and I thought I came back really well.”
Hurkacz later set up his semifinals, defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4), despite failing to score break points on the Canadian’s serve, which hit 21 aces.