Tennis: Kyrgios braves cut and cramps to down Wawrinka, says hostile Mexican crowd spurs him to play better

Nick Kyrgios (above) prevailed 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 against Stan Wawrinka and advance to the semi-finals of tennis' Acapulco International.
Nick Kyrgios (above) prevailed 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 against Stan Wawrinka and advance to the semi-finals of tennis' Acapulco International.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

(REUTERS, AFP) - Nick Kyrgios overcame a hand injury, leg cramps and a strong performance from Stan Wawrinka to prevail 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 and advance to the semi-finals of tennis' Acapulco International on Thursday (Feb 28).

The mercurial Australian, who defeated world No. 2 Rafa Nadal the night before with the Spaniard later criticising Kyrgios' on-court demeanour, was focused in the quarter-final and outplayed Wawrinka in the match's biggest moments despite crowd that vocally backed the Swiss.

"I actually play better when the crowd is against me and giving me a bit of stink," the 23-year-old said. "I love it. It gets me going."

The night did not begin well for the hard-hitting Kyrgios, who slipped while thumping a backhand in the opening game, opening up a cut on his right hand that required medical attention.

Leg cramps, which also required a visit from the trainers, followed in the deciding set but nothing could derail Kyrgios, who won his final service game at love to keep his hopes of a maiden championship at the tournament alive.

"In the first game I just tripped over. I'm not the smoothest mover on tour and I tripped over and grazed my hand," he said. "And the cramping was tough towards the end."

Next up for him is big-serving American John Isner, who outlasted Kyrgios' eighth-seeded countryman John Millman 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4) in a 3hr 6min match.

Earlier in the day, Briton Cameron Norrie cruised past American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-2 to book his ticket to the semis.

Norrie will face second-seeded German Alexander Zverev, who did not face a break point en route to a 6-4, 6-4 win over Australian Alex de Minaur.

In women's action, fifth-seeded Sofia Kenin of the United States battled back from a break down in each set to beat former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the last eight.

The Belarusian, currently ranked 50th in the world, served for the match at 5-4 in the third before succumbing after two and a half hours. Third-seeded Croatian Donna Vekic also advanced to the semi-finals, beating eighth-seeded Briton Johanna Konta 6-3, 7-5.