Aus Open Wrap Day 3: Kyrgios clinches comeback win
Nick Kyrgios has produced a stunning Australian Open performance in his round two clash with Frenchman Ugo Humbert, saving two match points on his way to winning a five set epic at Melbourne Park on Wednesday night.
Starring down the barrel of defeat in the fourth set the 25 year old rallied from two sets to one down to record a stirring victory 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-4 at Melbourne Arena.
It took him three hours and 25 minutes to complete the win and set up a third round against last year's beaten finalist, Dominic Thiem.
He received a point penalty for racket abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct earlier in the match, but was supremely cool at the end of the fourth when the French lefthander served for the match at 5-4.
Kyrgios had fans in the palm of his hand as he showcased some at-times ridiculous tennis to leave Humbert lost for answers after the Frenchman remained consistent for so long.
Paying tribute to the crowd at Melbourne Park, Kyrgios saved a special word for his good friend and AO competitor Thanassi Kokkinakis, whose emotional win last night helped inspire his own five-set thriller.
"I've got doubles tomorrow with Thanassi, so I'm thinking about that," Kyrgios said when asked about his looming third-round matchup against Dominic Thiem.
"It's good to see Thanassi back, obviously to see him go through what he went through and to get back healthy and play the tennis he's capable of is amazing to see. He had tears in his eyes and I've been one of his closest friends, I've seen it all.
"I'm so proud of that kid I swear, he was going to give up and he stayed with it. I was thinking about him a little bit out here as well, that was so special to him and that kept me going."
Fellow Australians Bernard Tomic and Alex Bolt exited in their second round matches against Denis Shapovolov and Grigor Dimitrov, John Duckworth joining them with his defeat at the hands of Felix Auger Aliassame.
Thiem set up his third round match up with Krygios by dispatching Germany's Domenik Koepfer 6-4 6-0 6-2, reigning men's champion Novak Djokovic dropping a set against American Frances Tiafoe before recovering to continue his early momentum in a tournament he has already won eight times.
2014 winner Stan Wawrinka squandered three match points to lose in a five set heatbreaker to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
On the women's side of the draw Australian Ajla Tomljanovic looked set to claim the huge scalp of number two seed Simona Halep when she had a 5-2 lead in the third and deciding set, only for the Romanian to rebound spectacularly to win five straight games and claim the match 6-4 4-6 7-5.
Serena Williams won through to the third round in straight sets over Nina Stojanovic, but older sister Venus was not so lucky, limping her way out of the tournament as she was beaten 6-1 6-0 by Italian Sarra Errani.
Number three seed Naomi Osaka is through after defeating Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, but Canadian Bianca Andreescu defeated by little known Taiwanese player Hsieh Su-wei.
Day four matches will see Alexi Popryin face South African Lloyd Harris for a spot in the third round, Thanasi Kokkinakis will battle Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, Chris O'Connell will meet Radu Albot while Alex De Minaur will feature in the night session against Pablo Cuevas, while in the women's Ash Barty will play compatriot Daria Gavrilova, while Sam Stosur faces American Jessica Pegula.