The Nick Kyrgios tennis machine returned to North America circuit on Tuesday as the Greek-Australian made an impressive return following injury by beating Kevin Anderson in the first round of the Atlanta Open.
Playing in his first singles match since an abdominal injury forced him to withdraw from his Wimbledon third-round match, Kyrgios produced a brilliant service display to a easy win 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over the South African.
The world No 58 served 15 aces and won 36 out of 42 of points on his first serve.
After no breaks in the first set Kyrgios edged the tie-breaker while the solitary break of serve in the match came in game eight of the second set.
He also produced plenty of entertaining shots for the crowd, including an underarm serve and tweeners.
“Kevin is no easy opponent, he’s a finalist at Grand Slams and he knows how to win matches,” the Australian said during the on-court interview.
“His serve is one of the best in the world, so I knew today was going to be incredibly tough. I haven’t played too many matches, but I was serving well and I just love playing here in Atlanta.”
He will face third seed Cameron Norrie, who had a bye, in the second round.
At match point, Kyrgios walked over to a fan in the crowd and, after a brief conversation, returned to the baseline. He fired a big first serve out wide that went unreturned, sealing the victory after an hour and 23 minutes.
“It’s a routine that I’ve been doing for the last few years, just trying to get the fans involved,” Kyrgios explained. “I saw that he had an ‘NK Nation’ hat on, and I said, ‘Where do you want me to serve?’ He just said, ‘Just go big, wide.’ So there you go.”