TENNIS

Nick Kyrgios deals major blow to cops ahead of Grand Slam

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In-form Australian Nick Kyrgios will head to Wimbledon as one of the most dangerous unranked players on the men’s draw. Photo: Getty

Australian Nick Kyrgios is shaping up to be the most dangerous unranked threat on the men’s draw at Wimbledon.

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Kyrgios fell just before reaching his first final on grass at the Halle Open, after being beaten by eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz in the last four in Germany.

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The Aussie clashed in three thrilling sets with the big-serving Polish star, who wiped the floor with world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev – winning 6-1 6-4 in Sunday night’s final.

“He’s a hell of a player,” the Australian said of Halle Open champion Hurkacz.

“His serve is incredible. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I was getting any reading about it.

“I played well in the last two sets, but I played a shocking tiebreaker in the second set. That’s how it is, I’m happy with my form this week.

Kyrgios will play another grass-court tune-up in Mallorca this week, before Wimbledon begins the following week.

However, the 27-year-old’s loss to Hurkacz in Germany means he will travel to the All England Club as an unrated player, meaning he could fire one of the big guns in men’s tennis when one of the first rounds.

It’s a brutal blow for the Aussie star, but given his love of the grass and recent form on the box, Kyrgios also looms as a dangerous early prospect for one of the top-ranked men’s players in the game. Wimbledon.

Veteran tennis journalist Jose Morgado has described Kyrgios’ unranked status at SW19 as “bad news” for everyone.

Kyrgios admits the ATP’s decision to strip Wimbledon of ranking points – in response to the banning of Russian and Belarusian players – eases some of the pressure at SW19.

While the Australian says he plans to use the pre-season event in Mallorca as an opportunity for some downtime, the world No. 65 is aware of maintaining his momentum on the seething grass.

“I could use it as an off week so I’m not going to worry too much about the result – but now that I say that when I get there I obviously want to continue my form,” he added. .

“I want to try to pick up as many points as possible (before Wimbledon).

“I always want to do well at Wimbledon, but without ranking points you don’t feel the pressure as much.”

Nick Kyrgios beats Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals in Halle

The Aussie was brilliant behind his own serve in the Halle Open semi-final, staying unbroken and allowing just two break points the entire match.

In the end though, Kyrgios was beaten at his own game as Hurkacz broke a career-best 27 aces in the 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) victory.

Seen here, Australia's Nick Kyrgios reacts during his match against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in the Halle Open semi-finals.

Australian Nick Kyrgios reacts during his match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the Halle Open semi-finals. Photo: Getty

Kyrgios was even more prolific with 30 aces but couldn’t capitalize on his first-set dominance when he was the most aggressive and ambitious of the pair.

Neither player was troubled by their own delivery until game nine of the opener when two brilliant forehand winners helped Kyrgios land what was to be the game’s only break to go ahead 5- 4.

He sealed the deal with two aces in the next game but from then on he never really threatened Hurkacz on serve as the Polish world number 12 began to gain confidence.

With some inevitability, it all came down to a final penalty shootout, with Hurkacz winning the crucial mini-break with Kyrgios failing to manage a floating deep return of serve.

Regardless of the loss, Kyrgios – who considers himself one of the top five players on grass – can look back on his time in Germany with genuine satisfaction.

One thing is certain – no one, as Hurkacz hinted, will want to meet this dangerous floater in the main draw of a slam in which he has already reached a quarter-final and the last 16 on two other occasions.

with agencies

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