Tennis

McEnroe gives 'black eye' to Aussie bad boy Kyrgios

McEnroe accuses Kyrgios of tanking as Aussie gets booed by home crowd

Bad boy Nick Kyrgios was booed off court and accused of giving up as he crashed out of the Australian Open second round in a stormy five-set defeat by Andreas Seppi yesterday.

In a madcap match, 14th seed Kyrgios looked in command with a two-set lead before a familiar meltdown in the third set changed the complexion of the contest.

The 89th-ranked Seppi, who saved a match-point, advanced to a third-round match with Belgium's Steve Darcis with a 1-6, 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 6-2, 10-8 win in three hours and nine minutes.

Kyrgios was booed off the court by some of the fans, while tennis great John McEnroe hit out at the brash youngster.

"What I don't understand, what I can't accept, is when he stops trying. It's a black eye for the sport," McEnroe said during his punditry on television.

Kyrgios said of McEnroe's criticism: "My body was sore. I was hurting. I mean, John McEnroe. Good on him. Great career. Good on him."

The 21-year-old Australian was also dismissive of the booing, saying: "Yes, obviously, it's not the greatest thing to hear.

"10-8 in the fifth, getting booed off, definitely not the best feeling."

While there was mixed feelings over Krygios' stormy exit, Seppi was savouring a memorable victory after losing in five sets to the Australian on the same court at the 2015 Australian Open.

"Maybe it was meant to be. It was a tough match and I didn't start well. I could not get the rhythm, but I started to play better," he said.

"Last time, I was two sets up and lost and I tried to do the same this time. I kept on fighting and did very well in the important moments at the end."

MURRAY ROLLS ANKLE

Kyrgios is making his return from a ban for "lack of best efforts" commonly known as tanking, during a match in Shanghai and has been seeing a psychologist.

But, yet again, Kyrgios' brittle temperament snapped during the third set as Seppi came storming back after looking out for the count.

Asked how he collapsed so spectacularly, Kyrgios said: "Poor management, I guess. I didn't have the best preparation. It's on me.

"I did a couple things in the off-season that I'm probably not going to do next time.

"My body's not in good enough shape. You live and you learn."

Kyrgios will do well to learn from top seed Andy Murray, who painfully rolled an ankle and needed treatment in the third set against Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev yesterday.

The world No. 1 looked worried, hobbling noticeably, and was heard telling his player's box "not good news... It's not good".

But he shook off the problem and beat Rublev 6-3, 6-0, 6-2.

Murray said after the match that while the ankle hurts, it should respond to treatment.

"It's a little bit sore, but it's not too serious. I definitely rolled it, but I'll put some ice on it tonight," he said.

There was joy for another Briton as Dan Evans came from a set down to upset seventh seed and former US Open champion Marin Cilic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.

Earlier, Roger Federer was made to work by 200th-ranked Noah Rubin for a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) win that set up a third-round assignment against his old rival Tomas Berdych.

"I know what he's got. I don't need to tell you where he's beaten me," Federer said of Berdych.

"Then again, I've played him here, played him on many occasions, as well, when it went my way."

Federer wasn't the only leading player challenged in the second round as Angelique Kerber, the women's defending champion, dropped a set against world No. 89 Carina Witthoeft.

Kerber won 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2 before being treated to a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by the Rod Laver Arena crowd.

"I was making a lot of mistakes in the important moments. But, at the end, I'm happy that I won the match," said the world No. 1. - WIRE SERVICES

  • MEN’S SINGLES

    • Stan Wawrinka (4) bt

    Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

    • Kei Nishikori (5) bt

    Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4, 6-3

    • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) bt

    Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-2, 6-3

    • Tomas Berdych (10) bt

    Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2

    WOMEN’S SINGLES

    • Garbine Muguruza (7) bt

    Samantha Crawford 7-5, 6-4

    • Svetlana Kuznetsova (8) bt

    Jaimee Fourlis 6-2, 6-1

    • Venus Williams (13) bt

    Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-2

    • Eugenie Bouchard bt

    Peng Shuai 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

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