Nick Kyrgios, the 2016 Tokyo champion, saved two set points to avoid being taken into a deciding set by his Japanese first-round opponent.
Nick Kyrgios, the 2016 Tokyo champion, saved two set points to avoid being taken into a deciding set by his Japanese first-round opponent.

Kyrgios serves up victory for new coach

NICK Kyrgios says he has hired American James Cerretani to travel with him as a coach through his Asian swing, which started on Wednesday with a first-round win in Tokyo.

Kyrgios rode a good serving day, including 20 aces, to beat Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, a winner of an ATP title in China last Sunday, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).

The Australian No. 1 and world No. 27 has had short stints with several coaches on tour over the years, and is trying out Cerretani, 37, a current doubles player who has posted four ATP doubles titles in his career, reaching No. 45 in the doubles rankings in 2008.

Kyrgios and Cerretani also played doubles in Tokyo, losing in the second round of qualifying.

"James is my coach now - you can quote me on that one,'' Kyrgios told The Courier-Mail.

"We have been working for a while now, especially the last couple of weeks.

"We've been talking on the phone a lot (in recent weeks), but starting in Tokyo it's the first week we have been working together officially. It's going well.''

Australian No. 3 Alex de Minaur wore down Frenchman Gilles Simon in 3hr 5min for a 6-7 (1-6), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory which added to his excellent history of deciding-set dogfights.

But West Australian Matt Ebden lost his way in a Tokyo first-round match to fall to Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.

Kyrgios, the 2016 Tokyo champion, saved two set points to avoid being taken into a deciding set by Nishioka.

"It was tough. He's obviously riding a lot of confidence from last week. Playing in front of his home crowd, he was probably looking forward to it today," Kyrgios said.

"I've had success here before but I think the conditions are a little bit different to the last time I played this tournament - it's a little bit faster this year. It probably suits my game a little bit more.''

 

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