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By Alberto Amalfi | Tuesday, January 7, 2020

 
team Australia

Nick Kyrgios mixed touch with dynamic strikes subduing Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(7), 6-7(3), 7-6(5) in a thriller as Australia swept Greece to charge into the ATP Cup quarterfinals.

Photo credit: Brisbane International Facebook

Team play sparks Nick Kyrgios' creativity and competitive passion.

Kyrgios mixed daring touch with dynamic strikes subduing Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(7), 6-7(3), 7-6(5) in a thriller as Australia swept Greece to charge into the ATP Cup quarterfinals with a green-and-gold flourish.

Watch: Raging Tsitsipas Hits Dad with Racquet Smash

Bamboozling Tsitsipas with a gutsy drop shot that helped him earn match point, Kyrgios banged a backhand winner down the line to cap an electrifying two hour, 34 minute thriller that had no service breaks and just three break points.




Kyrgios cranked 25 aces—seven more than the Greek No. 1—and won 67 percent of his second-serve points.

"[It was] exhausting, a lot of fun," Kyrgios said. "I knew Tsitsipas was going to be a very tough match. We played once before it went 7-6 in the third again.

"He's an amazing player. He's so young. He's gonna do some special things in the sport. Atmosphere was unbelievable. I'm just happy we got the win. We're off to Sydney tomorrow."




Captain Lleyton Hewitt's squad rolled through all comers at Brisbane's Pat Rafter Arena completing Group F play undefeated in powering into the last eight where it will face Great Britain on Thursday in Sydney.

John Millman, who stepped in for an injured Alex de Minaur, elevated his game at critical stages. Millman denied four of five break points fighting off a gritty Michail Pervolarakis 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(1) in the opening match before Kyrgios clinched the victory.

The Australian doubles team of Chris Guccione and John Peers defeated Markos Kalovelonis and Petros Tsitsipas, Stefanos' younger brother, 6-3, 6-4, to wrap a 3-0 sweep.

Prior to this inaugural ATP Cup, Kyrgios pledged $200 for each ace he hits during the Australian summer season to victims of the nation's bushfires that have killed 17 and destroyed more than a thousand homes. Teammates Alex de Minaur, Millman and Peers joined Kyrgios pledging cash donations to fire victims. 




Team play
and playing for a greater purpose—invoked clarity and calm in Kyrgios, while ATP Finals champion Tsitsipas erupted in a rage accidentally smashing his father, Team Greece captain Apostolos Tsitsipas, in the arm with his racquet and incurring admoshment from his mom for his unruly behavior.

“I served really well in big moments but the atmosphere was awesome," Kyrgios said. "We're carrying some momentum going to Sydney. It could have been easy to take your foot off the gas today.

"I thought both the Greeks showed up and I think they really wanted to win this tie, but I was happy we both got it done today.” 


World No. 6 Tsitsipas and Kyrgios are friends, but were all business in a high-quality clash today.




"He's a very serious guy on the court," Kyrgios said of Tsitsipas. "We're just trying to go out there and compete and put on a good show for you guys. [I have] a lot of respect there for him. He's a great player. He's a good kid.

"So I'm just happy to get the win. I'm on probation so I've got to stay in check."

Captain Hewitt looks forward to continuing this winning run at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney. 

“We came here to Brisbane to do a job. So today was nice,” Hewitt said. “The quality of tennis was fantastic today and to be able to get through those two matches when the boys could have easily have taken their foot off the pedal today, and that's not what we're about.

"And when you wear the green and gold it's not what it's about. So I think everyone can be pretty proud of these two today.”

 

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