He may be ranked 132 in the world at the moment, but Nick Kyrgios is looking like the most dangerous of floaters right now at Indian Wells.
“I’m just in a different mindset,” The 26-year-old wild card said after his victory. “I feel like I’m a bit younger mentally, I feel fresh again, and obviously I’m healthy again with my left knee – I feel like I’m playing some pretty good tennis.”
The Aussie likes to call his current competitive state “a vibe” but to the fans inside Stadium 1 on Thursday night it was simply squeaky clean tennis. The Aussie cranked 12 aces, saved all four break points he faced and finished with 27 winners against just 14 unforced errors as he cruised past Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, the world No.60, in one hour and 12 minutes.
Off and running
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 11, 2022
After the match Kyrgios was asked how much rust he had to shake off, due to the fact that he had not played a competitive match since this year’s Australian Open at the end of January.
His answer? “None.”
For the first time in a long time Kyrgios feels fit mentally and physically, and he is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. He’ll face another Argentinian, southpaw Federico Delbonis in the second round.
“Honestly, I thought I put in some great performances at the Australian Open, went toe-to-toe with the best player in the world [Daniil Medvedev] and had chances, so honestly I feel good. Now I’m going to enjoy some doubles tomorrow with Thanasi [his partner Kokkinakis], and just vibe, honestly. I’m just excited for dinner tonight and taking nothing for granted.”
Brooksby and McDonald Lead American Contingent into Round 2
17 Americans have taken their place in this week’s BNP Paribas Open main draw, and Mackenzie McDonald is the first of them to lock down a victory.
The former UCLA Bruin battled past Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics in the first ATP match of the day on Stadium 1, saving seven set points in the opener to defeat the world No.48, 7-6(11), 7-5.
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 10, 2022
McDonald was cool under pressure on a breezy day at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, saving all four break points he faced in the opening set, and 10 of 11 overall.
The world No.59’s triumph marks his third career victory in the California desert─he has reached the second round in all three of his appearances, but never progressed further.
The 26-year-old American improves to 7-7 on the season and sets a second-round clash with rising teen talent Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.
Brooksby Battles Past Carballes Baena
After reaching the second round on his debut in 2021, where he pushed Germany’s Alexander Zverev to three sets, American Jenson Brooksby is back for a second helping at the BNP Paribas Open. The 21-year-old world No.43 topped Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena, 6-1, 6-4. On a blustery day, Brooksby conquered the wind, cracking 20 winners against 14 unforced errors, while his Spanish opponent mustered just 9 winners against 27 unforced errors.
Brooksby, who reached the Dallas final last month, won 52 percent of his return points and broke serve four times on nine opportunities to set a second-round battle with Russia’s Karen Khachanov, a quarterfinalist in 2019 at Indian Wells.
Fognini Edges Andujar
Italy’s Fabio Fognini made it five victories in six tries against Spain’s Pablo Andujar, the 34-year-old father of three venturing out to Stadium 3 and rallying past the 36-year-old 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to set a second round with Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Fognini became the first Italian to win a Masters 1000 title at Monte-Carlo in 2019, but has only mustered a 9-11 lifetime record at Indian Wells, with his best performance a trip to the round of 16 in 2014.
In other early action on Thursday, Benjamin Bonzi defeated Arthur Rinderknech, 6-3, 7-5, and Filip Krajinovic defeated Dusan Lajovic in an all-Serbian derby, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.