Tennis

Nick Kyrgios melts down again in Karen Khachanov loss

Aussie faces heavy sanctions after abusing umpire Murphy, smashing rackets

Nick Kyrgios continued his feud with umpire Fergus Murphy during his second-round loss to Karen Khachanov at the Cincinnati Masters yesterday morning (Singapore time), loudly abusing the official before leaving the court to smash some rackets.

The Australian faces a heavy sanction from the ATP after clashing with on-court officials for the second time in as many weeks - and with Murphy for the second time this month - as his frustration mounted during his 7-6 (7/3), 6-7(4/7), 2-6 loss.

Kyrgios confronted Murphy late in the second set and accused him of starting the shot clock too early. He was ultimately issued a point penalty at the end of the second set tie-break after insulting the Irish umpire using an expletive.

The unseeded 24-year-old then left the court for what he deemed a bathroom break, despite protests from Murphy, and television pictures showed him smashing his rackets in a tunnel.

Kyrgios, who left the court without shaking Murphy's hand, clashed with the Irish official two weeks ago at the Washington Open, which he went on to win, and also had a run-in with another umpire over a towel last week in Montreal.

Murphy was also the subject of an expletive-ridden rant from Kyrgios at the Queen's Club Wimbledon warm-up tournament in June.

BIG UPSETS

Russian eighth seed Khachanov kept his cool throughout the histrionics and ended the match by winning three straight games.

He will next meet France's Lucas Pouille for a place in the quarter-finals this morning.

Unseeded Jan-Lennard Struff earlier resisted a Stefanos Tsitsipas fightback and Serbian teenager Miomir Kecmanovic beat fifth-seed Alexander Zverev in two big upsets.

Zverev was inconsistent as the German served a career-high 20 double-faults in his 7-6(7/4), 2-6, 4-6 defeat by the 19-year-old qualifier.

Struff, who has yet to win an ATP singles title in his decade-long career, was on top for most of the match against the 21-year old Greek. He served for the match in the second set, but Tsitsipas managed to stay alive by taking the set on a tie-break.

However, the German refused to give up and sealed the 6-4, 6-7(5/7), 7-6(8/6) victory to set up a third-round meeting with ninth seed Daniil Medvedev, who beat France's Benoit Paire 7-6(7/2), 6-1.

"I was telling myself 'I have to go for it, otherwise I won't win'." Struff said.

"I've been working hard with my team on my fitness and it's all finally paying off."

- REUTERS

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