Nick Kyrgios boosts Australian Open chances with Brisbane International win

first_imgTopics Read more The participation of former champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka remains in doubt with the celebrated trio all battling to overcome respective injury problems.Meanwhile, Julia Goerges won her third straight title as she clinched victory over former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki at the ASB Classic in Auckland. The 29-year-old German was in sparkling form, firing 41 winners and making just 23 unforced errors to win 6-4, 7-6 (4) after 90 minutes.Goerges, who was runner-up to the US Open champion Sloane Stephens in 2016, won the first set with her seventh ace, having broken serve in the opening game. She broke again in the first game of the second set, before the world No3 fought back to force a tie-break.With a thundering forehand proving her biggest asset, it was only fitting for Goerges, the No2 seed, to seal the title with a forehand winner.Goerges said her achievement felt “amazing”, adding: “It’s not just about winning here, but the consistency I’ve had for the last few weeks and months. That makes me prouder, and I’m just enjoying every moment of it.”Wozniacki, meanwhile, vowed to get her revenge in Melbourne. She said: “She played really well today, and she had a great end to last season too, so it’s good to see her bringing that form into this year. I’ll try to get my revenge in Australia.”Goerges, ranked No14 in the world, earned her back-to-back victories at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow and the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, while Wozniacki won the biggest title of her career in October at the WTA Finals in Singapore.Elsewhere on the tour, the British No2, Heather Watson, came through an early scare in her second qualifying match to reach the main draw at the Hobart International. Despite dropping the first set, she fought back to beat Japan’s Nao Hibino 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and will face Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in the first round of a tournament she won in 2015.The 2016 champion Alize Cornet was dispatched in the first round by Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu. While at the Sydney International, the fifth seed and world No11 Kristina Mladenovic retired during her match against the Australian wildcard Ellen Perez amid soaring temperatures in the city. Nick Kyrgios Tennis Since you’re here… Share on Twitter Tim Lewis Share on Messenger Nick Kyrgios defeated Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2 in the Brisbane International final to clinch his maiden tour title on home soil and gain a confidence boost ahead of the Australian Open.Carrying a knee injury, the mercurial Australian made a slow start and was forced to save five break points before he managed to carve out his own first break in the seventh game.The 22-year-old claimed the first set before taking control of the match after his American opponent dropped serve at the start of the second set with a double fault.Kyrgios broke the big-serving Harrison again in a sublime second-set display to close out the match and seal his fourth career title.He thrilled the crowd with his delightful touch at the net, while his ability to crank up the pressure with his groundstrokes threw Harrison off his game.“I’ve got fond memories of Brisbane, played Davis Cup here and had a massive win over the US,” Kyrgios said on court afterwards. “Coming here all week I felt right at home … I love playing in front of you guys even though sometimes you may not see it that way, but I do.”Kyrgios became the second Australian to lift the trophy in the tournament’s 10-year history after Lleyton Hewitt in 2014. The triumph moves him up four spots to 17th in the world rankings before this month’s Australian Open.Kyrgios has often struggled to produce his best tennis at the grand slams, but he goes into the Australian Open having made a strong start to the season, including a semi-final victory over the world No3, Grigor Dimitrov, in Brisbane.The men’s field at the first grand slam of the year, which starts at Melbourne Park on 15 January, has already been hit by the withdrawals of five-times runner-up Andy Murray and Japan’s former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. Share on Pinterest news Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share via Email Australia sport Infirmity and age pose threat to quality at Australian Open trainwreck … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. 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