Rising Australian star Nick Kyrgios forged a straight sets win over Pablo Cuevas to set up a third-round showdown with sixth seed Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The exciting 20-year-old showcased all his mercurial skills to get past the 41st-ranked Uruguayan 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (2) in almost two hours before a supportive home crowd on Hisense Arena.
The 29th-seeded Aussie smashed 50 winners as he broke the Uruguayan’s serve four times to take the second-round match. The victory sets him up for a crack at Berdych, who has reached the last two semi-finals at Melbourne Park.
“I am very relieved to get through that in straight sets,” said Kyrgios, who made the quarter-finals last year where he lost to Andy Murray.
“He’s a great competitor and he’s one of the best athletes on the tour.
“The crowd helped me deep in that third set, I was struggling a little bit, but the crowd really lifted me.”
His brittle temperament was evident again on court at times, following a US$3,000 fine for making an audible obscenity in his first-round win over Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on Monday.