On a rainy Thursday in Tokyo, Nick Kyrgios weathered another sort of storm under the closed roof in the Ariake Colosseum. After a shaky start to his second-round match, the Aussie locked in to secure a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Poland's Kamil Majchrzak at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
Kyrgios grew frustrated as he played a loose opening service game in falling behind 0-3, and he could not create a break chance in the set. But after saving a break point in the opening game of set two, Kyrgios did not face another as he expertly turned the match around to advance to the quarter-finals.
"Losing the first set, there was never really a doubt in my mind that I was going to win the match," Kyrgios said, noting his 37 match wins on the season. "I just had to get back to doing what I do well — that's playing quick and aggressive tennis.
"I've got really good confidence in my game right now, so I don't really doubt myself even when I'm down a set. I think playing Grand Slams and going far in Grand Slams has given me that confidence that even if I lose a set I'm still able to maintain and increase my level in the match."
The fifth seed finished with 22 aces and won 84 per cent (36/43) of his first-serve points.
"I've been serving well all year," he said. "I know if I'm serving the way I can serve, I shouldn't be getting broken."
The 2016 Tokyo champion was pleased with his "really high level" in the final two sets, and will seek to continue that form in the quarter-finals against either third seed Taylor Fritz or Japan's Hiroki Moriya. The pair are set to square off in Thursday's final evening match.
"Fritz is obviously an incredible player. He's had a great year," Kyrgios said. "He plays very aggressive, has a great serve and is very dangerous off both wings.
"Moriya is going be the home favourite and the Japanese crowd is going to get behind him. Either way, it's going to be a tough match."
After his singles victory, Kyrgios' day is not done in Tokyo. In the evening, he will take the court with doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis as the top seeds meet the Spanish duo of Pedro Martinez and Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
Photo Credit: Hiroshi Sato