Tennis: Nadal gets walkover into US Open third round, Kyrgios rows with umpire but advances

Rafael Nadal celebrates his first-round win over John Millman of Australiacat the US Open in New York on Aug 27, 2019.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his first-round win over John Millman of Australiacat the US Open in New York on Aug 27, 2019.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Three-time champion Rafael Nadal got a walkover into the third round of the US Open after Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrew from their evening match on Thursday (Aug 29).

Kokkinakis, whose clash with the Spanish second seed was scheduled to close out the Thursday night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium, withdrew with a right shoulder injury, tournament organisers said in a statement.

The 23-year-old Australian, who has struggled badly with injury in recent years, beat Bulgarian qualifier Ilya Ivashka in his opening match this week and was seeking his first appearance in the US Open third round.

Nadal will now face the winner of Thursday's clash between fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, the 32nd seed, or South Korean Chung Hyeon.

Fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios mostly kept his cool en route to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 dismantling of Antoine Hoang in their second-round clash.

The 28th seed had a row with the umpire even before the match started but avoided a full-scale meltdown to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the fourth time.

Although his play was accompanied by the usual outbursts of temper, mostly aimed at himself, there was little wrong with his tennis as he set up a meeting with Russian Andrey Rublev in just under two hours.

Before the match started, the combustible Kyrgios appeared to be up to his usual antics when he had the collar on his polo shirt popped up to reveal the words "Just Do You".

The chair umpire told him to put it down and the Australian demanded to know why, asking to speak to a supervisor and saying he would not play until he was shown the rule in writing. After a brief conversation with a supervisor, he backed down and the match began as scheduled.

Kyrgios had another minor tantrum in the third set when an ace appeared to give him a 5-3 lead. The chair umpire said the word "game" but Hoang then challenged the call and the review showed that the serve was long.

 
 

Kyrgios loudly questioned why a challenge was permitted after the umpire had said the game was over and again asked to speak to a supervisor, who explained that the rules allow a challenge even after the umpire's call. The row appeared to unsettle Kyrgios and he needed three match points to finish off the contest.

The Australian is on a short leash with the ATP Tour after calling the organisation "corrupt" on Tuesday after it levied a record US$113,000 fine for a slew of breaches during his second-round loss at the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month.

On Wednesday, he took to Twitter to say he regretted his choice of words. The ATP said it is looking into the matter.

Kyrgios, who at Wimbledon visited a pub on the eve of his third-round defeat by Rafael Nadal, said he was trying to avoid temptation during his stay in the Big Apple.

"New York has a few distractions but I am trying to stay away from that," he said after the match. "Obviously it's one of my favorite tournaments of the year and I really want to strap in and do well this week. I am just trying to stay focused."