(REUTERS, AFP) - Nick Kyrgios saved his best performance of a brilliant week for last, as he stunned second seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4 to win the Acapulco International in Mexico on Saturday (March 2) for his fifth career ATP title.
The temperamental Australian, whose scintillating run to the final included wins over multiple Grand Slam winners Stan Wawrinka and Rafa Nadal, played free and focused from the outset and frustrated the German with a steady diet of drop shots.
Former world No. 13 Kyrgios, who has fallen to 72 in the rankings, converted three of his break-point opportunities and sealed the win on his first championship point with a massive serve that was too much for world No. 3 Zverev to handle.
After a week in which he fired back at Nadal for criticising his behaviour on court, Kyrgios was full of compliments for Zverev, 21, after being presented with the championship silver pear trophy and a black sombrero.
"You're tame, you're so professional, you're an example to any tennis player and I think I can take a leaf out of your book and maybe I can catch you on some titles one day," said Kyrgios.
China's Wang Yafan rallied to capture her first WTA title, defeating American Sofia Kenin 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 to win the Mexico Open women's crown. The world No. 65, playing in her first singles final, outlasted the 35th-ranked American to claim her breakthrough title after two hours and 10 minutes.
The 24-year-old from Nanjing seized a 2-1 lead in the final set by taking advantage of her third break-point chance in the game.
She held on her first ace of the match for a 3-1 lead, but surrendered a break on her fourth double fault to allow Kenin to equalise at 3-3. After Wang held at love to 5-5, she reeled off the last four points of the 11th game to break Kenin and then held serve for the triumph.
The 20-year-old American was denied her second career WTA title and second crown of the year after taking her first at Hobart in January.
Against Zverev, the 23-year-old Kyrgios struck first and emphatically when he broke at love in the fourth game of the opening set and consolidated the break to go ahead 4-1, triggering the frustrated German to smash his racquet beyond repair on the hard court.
Kyrgios opened the second set with a break but then looked like he may start to crack when he found himself staring down a break point in the next game and double-faulted, allowing Zverev to draw level at 1-1.
But Kyrgios' nerves held up and he broke again in the fifth game and then held steady the rest of the way as he collected his first tournament win since Brisbane in January 2018.
Zverev, competing in only his second tournament of the year after crashing out of the fourth round of the Australian Open, arrived in the final in solid form having not dropped a set all week but had no answer for Kyrgios.
With the win, the Australian improved to 4-3 in career head-to-head meetings against Zverev.