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Kyrgios Ace Barrage Leads To Career First

Maybe slow starts are a positive omen for Aussie Nick Kyrgios. For the third consecutive match, the third seed fell behind a set on Saturday evening at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp.

But for the third consecutive match, Kyrgios found a way to come back, this time against defending champion Grigor Dimitrov to pick up his first win against the Bulgarian and advance to Sunday's final, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Nick Kyrgios overcame a first-set loss to defeat 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov for the first time to reach the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp final.
"I hadn't beaten him before. Going into today, I knew that I was going to do something a little different. I was going to kind of just not give him too much rhythm. Come in a lot, be super aggressive off my returns. And obviously try and just serve, just serve pretty much anywhere and just play aggressive," Kyrgios said. "He played a pretty solid first set. I played a pretty loose game to get broken. And then, pretty much from then on, I felt pretty in control of the match."

The final will be Kyrgios' first on home soil and his seventh overall (3-3). Kyrgios is also the first Aussie to reach the Brisbane final since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 2014 (d. Federer).

Kyrgios will face American Ryan Harrison, who beat Kyrgios' countryman Alex de Minaur 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 to reach his third ATP World Tour title match (2017 Memphis, 2017 Atlanta).

"He's got a great serve. That's probably his strength, I think. I played him a couple times now, and I definitely felt that was his best weapon," Kyrgios said. "He's a good mover as well. I played him on clay last year, and I don't think that was either of our best surfaces. I played him on hard court as well. So I know what he's going to bring, but at the same time it's going to be a tough match."

Kyrgios leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, and Harrison has yet to take a set off the Aussie.

“I know that he's a dangerous opponent. He can serve very, very well and he's obviously won a lot of matches here,” Kyrgios said on court.

The 22-year-old Canberra native trailed Dimitrov in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 0-2, including a loss in last year's Western & Southern Open final in Cincinnati, and the Bulgarian was riding a seven-match win streak heading into the Brisbane semi-final. Dimitrov started on a roll as well, breaking Kyrgios once and not facing a break point in the first set to gain the lead.

But Kyrgios swung more freely in the second set and mixed up his play against Dimitrov. The third-seeded Kyrgios exchanged rapid-fire points with Dimitrov and came out the victor more often than not. He also gave Dimitrov different return looks, and the strategy seemed to throw the World No. 3 off as Kyrgios broke twice in the second set to even the match in 29 minutes.

“I knew that I had to do something a little bit differently today. I couldn't give him too much rhythm,” Kyrgios said.

The third set followed a similar strategy. Kyrgios dominated on serve – he finished with 19 aces and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points – and broke in the seventh game before serving out the match.

"Sometimes when there's no way out, you try to change up the game and break the rhythm of a player. And today just everything, whatever I thought he tried, it was just great," Dimitrov said. "He deserved to win today."


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