With no histrionics, no wars and no noise, Nick Kyrgios was the spitting image of a quiet, no-nonsense businessman as he blasted into the third round at Wimbledon.
Two days after being embroiled in unsavoury controversy as he struggled to tame Briton Paul Jubb in front of the vociferous Court 3 fans, Kyrgios was the very model of focus as he knocked out Serbian No.26 seed Filip Krajinovic 6-2 6-3 6-1 with brutal efficiency on Thursday.
“I just wanted to remind everyone I’m pretty good,” said Kyrgios pointedly, still in unsmiling, matter-of-fact mood in his interview on Court 2 afterwards.
“I didn’t play great the other day – today, I was in the zone.”
Out there, he’d demonstrated why he believes he’s one of the best grass-court players in the world as he demolished a capable opponent who’s good enough to have reached the recent prestigious Queen’s Club final.
Quite devastating behind his first serve, the Australian swept to his win in under an hour and a half, having cracked down 24 aces and losing only nine points on his own delivery.
Those attracted to the idea of seeing Kyrgios, who admitted to spitting towards a spectator in Tuesday’s contest, in further self-destruct mode were to be left sorely disappointed as the controversy magnet was on his best behaviour.
There was an early dispute over a line call and a grumble or two towards a coughing spectator before he was serving, but they didn’t even register as the most minor tremors on the normal Kyrgios scale of meltdowns.
In the first set, Kyrgios didn’t drop a single point on serve and only conceded the first on his own delivery after 21 straight points, when already 2-0 up in the second stanza.
Krajinovic just looked increasingly dispirited as winner after winner flashed past him, and Kyrgios finished with a flourish, advancing on the Serb’s serve to pulverise a backhand return for his 50th winner that sealed the deal.
It set up a mouth-watering third-round clash for Kyrgios with either his great Australian pal Jordan Thompson or No.4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday.
“I’m just happy at the moment, I’ve been preparing for this tournament, circled it in my calendar all year, and I think it’s my best chance of winning a grand slam.
“I’ve got an incredibly tough draw but I’ll keep taking it match by match.”
Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur has staged an exciting comeback to join fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon third round.
De Minaur dug deep to beat rising Brit Jack Draper – not to mention Wimbledon’s infamous late-night curfew. He had to pull out all stops to avoid falling two sets behind before surging to an electrifying 5-7 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 comeback win on Thursday night.
Rain caused the second-round match to be stopped for almost an hour while the roof was closed on show court No.1 and the delay threatened to leave de Minaur hanging for the night.
But after snatching the second set in a tiebreaker, the Australian No.1 found top gear and accelerated to the finish line to ensure he wasn’t asked to return on Friday to see out the match.
It’s strictly lights out at 11pm in London’s borough of Merton, with not even Wimbledon able to keep local residents awake.
De Minaur was caught napping himself early in the showdown of two former Wimbledon junior finalists as Draper took the opening set, then fashioned a series of break points midway through the second.
Watching intently courtside, Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt would have been proud as de Minaur repelled some ferocious hitting from Draper with his signature counter-punching to level the match.
Try as he might, Draper didn’t get a look in on de Minaur’s serves in the third and fourth sets as Australia’s 19th seed safely advanced to a third-round meeting on Saturday with another Brit, inspired wildcard Liam Broady.
Broady earlier upset 12th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-2 4-6 0-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 section of the draw wide open.
De Minaur or the 132nd-ranked Broady will play either unseeded Chilean Cristian Garin or American world No.34 Jenson Brooksby for a place in the quarter-finals.