Fiery Kyrgios flips in Madrid madness
Nick Kyrgios's start to the claycourt season has ended abruptly, the Australian dumped out of the first round of the Madrid Open in straight sets by Jan-Lennard Struff.
A drop shot-happy Kyrgios was outmuscled by the German 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. While the first set was close on the scoreboard, Struff dominated play with Kyrgios winning just three points on his opponent's serve across six games and a tiebreaker.
It looked like things would turn around as Kyrgios capitalised on a double fault and some unforced errors by world No. 48 Struff as he claimed a break in the opening game of the second set.
But the advantage wasn't to last.
Struff ultimately levelled at 2-2, games staying on serve until he broke Kyrgios comfortably at 5-4 to take the match.
The German had been in recent good touch on clay with a quarter-final run at the Barcelona Open where he enjoyed wins over David Goffin and Stefanos Tsitsipas before going down to Rafael Nadal.
It was another mixed bag from the world No. 34, who served well on occasion but bombed out with all three underarm deliveries and relied too heavily on dropshots to win some cheap points.
His one outburst occurred after Struff won a point to serve for the first set, Kyrgios breaking his racquet in frustration and earning a warning. Kyrgios had been playing his first match since the Miami Open in March when he lost to Borna Coricin the round of 16.
Unless he performs better in Rome, he'll struggle to break into the top 32 and earn a seeding at the French Open which startson May 26.