Result: Nick Kyrgios d. Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-7(9) 6-3
Day 12 of the Miami Open offered up a quarterfinal showdown of two of the ATP Tour’s biggest #NextGen stars, Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev. Having been sent home after a semifinal loss to Kei Nishikori last year, Kyrgios was keen to flip the narrative this time around. And, although it took three sets and 200 points, he was able to do so, earning his spot in the Miami Open semifinal.
The Game Insight Group (GIG) has tracked Kyrgios’ momentum throughout this quarterfinal, breaking down the biggest turning points in the match.
Coming off a string of good results, Kyrgios went into the match against Zverev with the edge. Before the first point was played, his win probability was an impressive 68%. However, by the middle of the first set, the chances for both players looked more even, with both Zverev or Kyrgios holding serve and facing zero break points during the first eight games.
That all changed in the ninth game, which set the tone for the rest of the match.
At the start of the game, Kyrgios’ win chances were at 62%. By the fifth point, he had the first break chance of the match. Failing to convert, Kyrgios kept his cool at Deuce and got another break point opportunity. This one he didn’t miss. Winning that point turned out to be one of the most critical moments of the match – that one point increased his win chances by 20 percent from the start of the game.
After serving out that first set, Kyrgios went in to the second the 90% favorite to win.
The start of the second was a déjà vu of the first, with both Kyrgios and Zverev holding serve and staving off break point chances. The first break point didn’t come until the 5th game on Zverev’s serve. Missing that chance would be one of the few negatives we can point to in Kyrgios’ second set performance, where he averaged an outstanding 82% of points won on serve.
With neither player finding a break by the end of the twelfth game in the second, a tiebreak would decide whether there was going to be a third set. Kyrgios was the first to get to an advantageous position in what became a tug-of-war for the second set. By the tenth point, Kyrgios had his first match point opportunity but Zverev dug in, fighting off that point and saving two more match points. In tiebreaks, where anything can happen, it could have gone either way by the fifteenth point. In the end momentum was on Zverev’s side, the German settling the score with a mini-break on the 19th point and then serving the tiebreak out on the 20th.
Despite what had to be a heartbreaking loss in the second set, Kyrgios was still hungry for the win in the third.
Zverev didn’t make it easy.
The 3rd game of the set had to make Kyrgios fans nervous. With the loss of just two points, Kyrgios found himself at Love-30 and his win probability had dropped back to 62%. With the threat of a break staring him down, Kyrgios did what comes most naturally to him and held serve.
Getting behind in that game seemed to put a fire under Kyrgios and he was on Zverev’s heels for Zverev’s next two service games. It was the sixth game when Kyrgios finally took the reins of the match, earning the first and only break of the set after two chances and raising his win probability for the match to 90% at the start of the seventh game. The win was all down to Kyrgios’ serve, which has been his consistent weapon throughout the event.
Tennis fans can now look forward to the Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios match they were denied at Indian Wells. This time, when the #NextGen star finally goes up against the living legend of the game, it will be for a spot in the Championship match.
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