Saturday, 4 March 2017

Barty in 1st final - Kyrgios misfires

An Australian has won through to a final but it's not Nick Kyrgios.
The Malaysian Open is the scene for Ash Barty's first chance at a WTA title, and she has won her spot in the final by firstly surviving a qualifying match before ousting four main draw opponents, losing just the one set along the way.

Not only will Barty be eyeing a huge singles breakthrough, but her doubles partnership with Casey Dellacqua is once again proving among the best in the world, the pair qualifying for the final in Kuala Lumpur.  So it's been a busy and successful week for the brightest female prospect in Australian tennis.

Admittedly Ash has avoided any seeded players in the draw, but she has advanced further than the players who knocked out the likes of Carla Suarez Navarro and Caroline Garcia, so there is nothing to suggest that the Aussie could not have done likewise if necessary.

Barty will play the winner of the Magda Linette and Nao Hibino semi final.  She has never met Linette in a tour match before, and her only clash with Hibino was in 2013 in Tokyo, the Australian winning in straight sets.

Meanwhile in Acapulco, it appeared that Nick Kyrgios was set for a showdown with Rafa Nadal in the final, the Spanish second seed already there via a comprehensive victory over Marin Cilic.
Having broken the big Sam Querrey serve a second time to grab the first set, Kyrgios had all the running.

However, his concentration lapsed when ahead in his first service game of the second set.  Querrey seized the unexpected opportunity and broke for a 2-0 lead.  Kyrgios held in the third game but after that was a disaster.  Four straight games for Sam, and importantly breaking the Australian serve to win the set and be serving first in the decider.

Kyrgios was back on track and matched the American, with service breaks not even looking a remote chance.  The one break point which Kyrgios somehow managed to find on a Querrey serve was dealt with smartly, and Nick didn't face one at all - until serving at 5-6 when serving to stay in the match for a second time.
Out of nowhere 0-40, and a total misjudgement on the first match point saw Sam Querrey into the final.

Querrey has now beaten David Goffin, defending champion Dominic Thiem, and Nick Kyrgios, to reach the Nadal face off.  He must be rated a fair chance of taking the title.  Nadal hasn't won a hard court title for three years but has won this tournament in 2005 and 2013.

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