Nick Kyrgios wins in Houston, clay court, tweener shot video

Nick Kyrgios won his first match on clay since 2019, defeating American Mackenzie McDonald 4-6 6-4 6-4 in his opening-round fixture at the ATP 250 tournament in Houston.

The Aussie wildcard was forced to fight back from a set down, showing his usual tricks to bring himself into play.

Kyrgios briefly clashed with the chair umpire after he was given a time violation at the end of the first set for leaving the court for more than three minutes without changing his clothes.

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However, he soon composed himself and let his explosive serve do all the talking.

In taking back the lead, the world No.94 dished up 18 aces including a stunning 222km/h missile that soared straight past McDonald.

Down a break in the second set, he later pulled off a ridiculous tweener shot between his legs that won him the point.

The three-set victory was Kyrgios’ first match on clay in almost three years after bypassing the court surface in recent seasons.

“I slip and slide a little bit but my game actually suits clay quite well,” he said after the match.

“Clay is obviously not my preferred surface but today I just served really well and started playing more aggressive and found another gear.”

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Despite his promising start, fans should not get used to watching Kyrgios take to the red dirt anytime soon, the 26-year-old previously stating the Houston event would be the only clay tournament he would play this year.

Kyrgios revealed he would not take part in the European clay-court season and will not make a long-awaited comeback to Roland Garros after a five-year hiatus, instead opting to return to Australia for a break before the grass-court season commences.

He will however contest the grand slam championship in 2023, citing his partner Costen Hatzi’s keen interest to spend time in the nation’s capital.

“Next year I am going to go to Paris. I’m announcing that now, I’m going to the French Open,” Kyrgios told tennis reporter and host Blair Henley.

“I haven’t played that in four years so I’ll be back next year.

“My girlfriend just wants to see Paris. I mean, I’ll play the French Open as well.”

Asked why he wouldn’t contest the title in May if Hatzi was so keen to see Paris, Kyrgios said the pair had already planned to head home before rejoining the tour.

“We already decided to go home and have that time. We’re just working towards that. Time at home’s crucial because the next trip is for three months and the time at home is so valuable,” Kyrgios said.

“Especially being from Australia, you get homesick very quickly and we’re both very family-oriented, so we have to make sure that season remains tight.”

Kyrgios will play another American in seventh seed Tommy Paul on Thursday.

Fellow Aussie Jordan Thompson is also through to the second round after recording a straight-sets victory over Canadian Steven Diez.

Australian Open doubles runner-up Max Purcell takes on Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas later on Wednesday night.

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