ACAPULCO, Mexico (AFP) – Nick Kyrgios continued his scintillating run at the Mexico Open on Friday, downing third-seeded John Isner in three sets to book a title showdown with world number three Alexander Zverev.
Australia’s Kyrgios, the former world number 13 who has slipped to 72nd in the rankings, defeated Isner 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (9/7), following victories over 17-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka.
Kyrgios, 23, reached his first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) final since capturing his fourth trophy in Brisbane in January last year.
Second-seeded German Zverev powered into his first final of the year with a 7-6 (7/0), 6-3 victory over Britain’s Cameron Norrie.
Two nights after he saved three match points in a final-set tiebreaker against Nadal, Kyrgios converted his third match point with a drop shot from the baseline, sealing the win after two hours and 21 minutes.
He broke Isner in the penultimate game of the opening set, and Isner returned the favour late in the second. Neither mustered a break point in the third.
“I was just trying to take care of my serve, that’s really all you can do against John,” said Kyrgios, who had the edge on Isner in aces with 25 to the big-serving American’s 24.
The unpredictable Australian, who seemed rattled at times by hostile fans in his victories over Nadal and Wawrinka, played happily to the crowd on Friday.
“It’s insane,” he said. “One point they were cheering my name, another point they were booing me. It’s just entertainment.”
Zverev, 21, is playing just his second tournament of the year after crashing out of the fourth round of the Australian Open.
He hasn’t dropped a set all week, and was convincing against the 64th-ranked Norrie.
Unable to serve out the first set, Zverev raced through the tiebreaker and quickly seized a 3-0 lead in the second set, relying on a strong baseline game and 10 aces.
“It was very tough. It was pretty windy out here, not easy conditions, and his game actually I think fits the wind quite well, so it was not easy,” Zverev said. “I’m just happy to be through.”
In the women’s semi-final action, China’s Wang Yafan ousted third-seeded Croatian Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach her first Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour final.
She’ll face fifth-seeded American Sofia Kenin, who defeated Canadian Bianca Andreescu 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.