Beijing (AP) — Nick Kyrgios smashed a racket after losing the first set, sang a song while relaxing during a changeover, and then advanced to the China Open quarterfinals.
The eighth-seeded Australian rallied to beat Mischa Zverev 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 Wednesday, finding some degree of redemption for his ill-tempered, suspension-earning performance against the German last year in Shanghai.
Kyrgios said he found his rhythm after losing the first set and smashing his racket, choosing at one point to sing along with the stadium soundtrack.
“Obviously, didn’t have a great one last year. Obviously, got suspended after that,” Kyrgios said. “I just wanted to go out there and redeem myself a little bit from last year.”
Kyrgios missed the end of the 2016 season after being suspended by the men’s tour and fined $25,000 for “tanking” a match and insulting fans during a second-round loss to Zverev at the Shanghai Masters. The ATP said Kyrgios was sanctioned for “conduct contrary to the integrity of the game” following an investigation into his behavior.
Kyrgios said his latest victory was more a statement about his playing ability than anything.
“I just wanted to prove to myself how much I have improved,” he said.
Also, third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov eliminated Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 (6), 7-5, Steve Darcis defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 and fifth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut beat Aljaz Bedene after the British player retired from the match in the second set.
In the women’s tournament, second-seeded Simona Halep defeated Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
Halep landed 74 percent of her first serves, while Sharapova recorded five double-faults.
“First of all, I think she played an incredible match, probably the best she’s played against me in all of our previous meetings,” said Sharapova, who is still rebuilding her game after serving a doping suspension. “And I wasn’t as sharp. I wasn’t seeing the ball as well. I wasn’t moving up and down as well as I have been against her.”
Peng Shuai also advanced, beating Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-2, while Caroline Garcia defeated Elise Mertens 7-6 (4), 6-4 and Jelena Ostapenko beat Samantha Stosur 6-3, 7-5.