Saturday, 3 June, 2017
Thursday was not the first time I had played against the young and talented Australian, Nick Kyrgios. We actually faced off in Chengdu last year. I was able to win our first encounter in China, but it was a really close three-setter – 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-2 – in which I managed to save match point in the second set.
As the 18th seed in Paris, Nick has enjoyed a strong year so far and, heading into the second round, I knew that a very tough match lay ahead for me. When playing matches against opponents with big weapons such as Nick, for me, winning primarily comes down to taking care of my service games and remaining patient.
After going down a set and a break, I felt like I did a really good job of turning the match around and sticking to the two points mentioned above. I was able to hold serve throughout the rest of the match, but had to dig out of a few break points. I constantly applied pressure on his serve and capitalised on some break point opportunities. I took plenty of positives from the match. Mainly, I felt like I moved really well and did a good job returning to one of the best servers on tour.
Today in the third round, I come up against a completely different type of opponent in Kyle Edmund. Both of the tour’s up-and-coming ‘NextGen’ players, Kyle and Nick, have two extremely diverse playing styles. Kyle is a great competitor and he has done very well over the last couple of years.
I am going to approach the match just like any other clash and will be really focused on the kind of tennis that I want to play. There will be a few adjustments to make for the 22-year-old Briton, but because I have not played him before I will be getting a feel for things as the match progresses.
Aside from my own journey through the tournament, some other interesting matches took place yesterday. Rafael Nadal really put on a show, allowing only one game to be lost. His ruthless victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili has since been touted as his strongest-ever win to date at Roland Garros.
In contrast, reigning French Open champion Novak Djokovic was pushed all the way to five sets by Diego Schwartzman – a challenge few pundits predicted. Meanwhile, it was really tough for me to see David Goffin having to retire after rolling his ankle mid-match. David has proved one of the best players on the tour this year and I really hope he recovers quickly. Having also battled with a number of injuries, I know how difficult it is to be sidelined from the game owing to a physical impairment.
I am first up on court two today against Kyle. I often enjoy playing first because I don’t have to wait around and know exactly when the action will get underway. I’m well rested and ready to perform.