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Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios becomes sixth Australian in second round

Nick Kyrgios plays a backhand against Stephane Robert.

Nick Kyrgios plays a backhand against Stephane Robert. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Kyrgios is an acknowledged star of the future, but also a compelling talent of the present, and on Tuesday the youngest man left in the Wimbledon men's draw celebrated his All England Club debut with a place in the second round.

The Canberra wildcard, ranked 144th, defeated French veteran Stephane Robert, 15 years and 66 rankings places his senior, 7-6 (-7-2), 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 to become the sixth Australian winner in just over 24 hours.

The last time more than five Australian men and women featured in round two at Wimbledon was in 2007; for more than six, the records must be traced back to the last century - well, 1999, but that counts - in a time of far greater Australian tennis depth. Then, there were 10.

Now, Kyrgios - usually packaged with his great friend Thanasi Kokkinakis - has overtaken 21-year-old Bernard Tomic as the big hope of the post-Hewitt generation, and the confident young man, who was invited to practice with Roger Federer in Zurich before the French Open, has added a Wimbledon win to his previous first-round victories at Roland Garros and Melbourne Park.

Grass suits his power game, and particularly a serve that produced 29 aces against Robert in a fast-paced, quick-rally match on court 13, at the same time as Hewitt was involved in a more drawn-out duel with persistent Pole Michal Prrzysiezny on lush court three.

Kyrgios won his maiden grand slam match at the French Open last year in three tiebreaks against Radek Stepanek, and it looked to be headed for more of the same against Robert before a small lapse in the third. Kyrgios already has a positive tiebreak record in tour-level matches in his short career, this one watched by Australia's 1987 Wimbledon champion and sometime Kyrgios mentor Pat Cash, as well as Cash's former coach Ian Barclay.

With Kyrgios, there is style, and show, and flash, but also substance, for in the current edition of the men's game, it takes a special teenager to make an impression. He was helped on Tuesday by Robert's disastrous double-fault tally of 19 - and it was not just the number but the timing that hurt the laconic Frenchman with the fine backhand and economical style.

Still, after two hours and 24 minutes, it is Kyrgios who continues, for a second-round encounter 13th seed Richard Gasquet who beat Australian James Duckworth 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.

"It was a tough match,'' said Kyrgios, while playing down the impact of the minor knee soreness that he has been managing for the past week. "I didn't expect the way he was going to play out there today; he was really aggressive and I got no rhythm throughout the match, until late in the fourth set I thought I started playing a lot better from the back, returning his serve well.

"But that's the type of player he is, he's pretty streaky, he's going to go through patches where it was incredible tennis, and patches where he's going to make errors. So I thought I stayed strong. After the third set it could have got a bit interesting, getting broken at the start of the fourth, but I thought I stayed composed.

"My serve's my main strength, and especially on the grass it's gonna help me a lot. I thought I served really well - stats are stats, but when I really needed it, I thought I served well, and I thought that got me over the line today."

Meanwhile, Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka won his first grand slam match since the dramatic final against Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park in January, the first-round French Open loser and fifth seed beating Portugal's Jaoa Sousa in straight sets.

Matthew Ebden, the 11th and last Australian in the tournament, was beaten 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 by eighth seed Milos Raonic.

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