Kyrgios sent packing in Brisbane title defence
TENNIS: Nick Kyrgios's Brisbane International title defence came crashing down yesterday when the Australian suffered a costly 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3 loss to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Not only did the 2018 Brisbane champion and world No.35 lose the chance to claim back-to-back trophies, he is also set to drop outside the top 50 - meaning he will not be seeded at the Australian Open later this month.
A clearly frustrated Kyrgios set an impressive standard in the first set of his second round showdown in Pat Rafter Arena, relying once again on his powerful service game to edge out Chardy in a nail-biting tie break.
However, things started to fall apart for the 23-year-old midway through the second set when Chardy broke serve for the first time to lead 4-2.
Kyrgios was seen trying to calm himself but did vent towards his player's box and then started to talk himself in between games.
Unable to recover after the break, Kyrgios faltered and Chardy got the better of him, claiming the set 6-2.
Chardy carried the momentum into the deciding set, with Kyrgios unable to find a way to overcome his opponent.
Ahead of this year's Brisbane International, Kyrgios indicated he had not practised at all over his pre-season and said he was entering into the tournament "rusty" and also recovering from a spider bite to his foot suffered on Christmas Eve.
He did struggle at times in his first-round victory over American Ryan Harrison, but was hopeful he could turn his form around in his chase for back-to-back Brisbane titles.
While the first set against Chardy certainly looked promising for Kyrgios, he ultimately proved to be underdone - although it did appear he lost the mental battle more than a physical one.
Kyrgios received some treatment to his right knee after the first set but it did not appear to bother him throughout the match.
Chardy moves into a quarter-final showdown with Japanese qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama.
- Rikki-Lee Arnold