Kyrgios proves he's up to the Challenger
Nick Kyrgios won the Sydney Tennis International on the ATP Challenger tour on Sunday. Photo: Briony Craber
Canberra teenager Nick Kyrgios continued his incredible rise with victory at the Sydney Tennis International at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday.
Kyrgios backed up from a semi-final win in the morning due to a rain delay to easily account for Matt Reid 6-3, 6-2 to claim his maiden ATP Challenger title.
More important than the winner's cheque at the $50,000 tournament is the all-important ranking points.
Nick Kyrgios unleashes a forehand on Sunday. Photo: Briony Craber
The 17-year-old - who is at present ranked 559 in the world - is expected to rise towards the 400 mark, having already risen more than 280 places this year.
''It's an amazing achievement for me,'' Kyrgios said. ''Not many people have won a Challenger at 17, but that's what you work hard for, and hopefully I can do it again in the future. I knew I was playing some great tennis, but I wasn't really thinking at the start of the week that I was going to win … I just wanted to get out there and play.''
Kyrgios' victory comes less than six weeks after winning his first junior Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in January.
His goal at the start of the year was to break into the world's top 300, and his maiden victory on the ATP circuit has him on track to do just that.
Strong performances in recent Challenger and Pro Tour tournaments have led to him earning a wildcard in Sydney. He made the most of the invitation, taking out French No. 5 seed Stephane Robert 7-5, 6-3 in the semi-finals on Sunday morning before getting past Reid in the decider. ''I think my serve was one of my big strengths in the match,'' Kyrgios said. ''It got me over the line today and through the week.''
The breakthrough success will strengthen his case to be included as a hitting partner for Australia's Davis Cup team for next month's tie with Uzbekistan.
Kyrgios filled the role last year against China in Geelong in a sign he's highly rated as a prospect for the future. He went within a tie-breaker of adding the doubles title to his collection in an exhausting day, with the doubles' semi-finals and finals immediately after the singles decider.
Kyrgios and South Australia's Alex Bolt dropped the opening set 6-4 to top seeds Brydan Klein and Dane Propoggia, but reversed the scoreline in the second to force a championship tie-breaker.
However, Klein and Propoggia held their nerve to take it out 11-9.