Nick Kyrgios advances in US Open after encouragement from umpire
Australian rallies against Herbert as Kvitova defeats Wang to secure spot in third round
Australian Nick Kyrgios returns a shot against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in a second-round match on day four of the US Open. Photograph: Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports
Nick Kyrgios was involved in more controversy during a 4-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-3 6-0 victory over Pierre-Hugues Herbert, although this time he was not the central character.
Trailing by a set and 2-0, Kyrgios appeared to not really try to return Herbert’s serve and sat disconsolately down in his chair for the change of ends.
At which point umpire Mohamed Lahyani came down from his chair apparently to urge Kyrgios to show more effort, and could be heard telling him: “I want to help you. I know this is not you.”
There was an immediate reaction from current and former players on social media claiming Lahyani had majorly overstepped his role.
Kyrgios saw the trainer two games later but sent him away with a pat on the back and soon turned things around, recovering the break in the second set and then growing into the match.
Asked afterwards about Lahyani’s intervention, Kyrgios said: “He was concerned about how I was playing, like, ‘Nick, are you okay?’ I said everything was fine, I just wasn’t feeling great. He [Herbert] let me back into the second set really.”
Meanwhile, hard-hitting Czech Petra Kvitova advanced to the third round of the women’s competition, defeating China’s Yafan Wang 7-5 6-3 to keep her dream of winning a third Grand Slam title alive. The fifth seed converted five of seven break points and fired down four aces to send 24-year-old Wang packing in a match that lasted just under two hours on a hot and humid day at Flushing Meadows.
The match looked like it would be a one-sided affair when the twice Wimbledon champion raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set but Wang came roaring back to level the set at 5-5. Kvitova would not be denied, however, unleashing her powerful forehand and elevating her play to capture the final two games of the set before cruising to victory.
Next up for the Czech is a third-round meeting with 20-year-old number 26 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Kvitova won their only previous meeting in three sets on the hardcourts at the Miami Open this year.