Kyrgios powers through to semi-finals
NICK Kyrgios woke himself from a tennis "nightmare'' today to become the second Australian through to the Brisbane International semi-finals.
Kyrgios initially failed to rally his determination and energy to near the levels shown by teenage countryman Alex de Minaur in a disastrous first set against Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, but put his game in order to win their quarter-final at Pat Rafter Arena 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The 18-year-old de Minaur earlier barged with passion into his first ATP Tour semi-final with a 6-4, 6-0 rout of American qualifier Michael Mmoh.
Canberra's world No. 21 moves to within one more win of his first ATP tournament final in Australia, with his semi-final opponent to be either world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov or British underdog Kyle Edmond on Saturday afternoon.
"I don't know what was going on (in the first set) - I was a bit tired,'' Kyrgios said.
"I was happy I found some energy and picked it up. The crowd helped me.
"He's a nightmare. He has a very unorthodox game and I don't match up well against him. You have to steady the ship when things aren't going your way
Kyrgios again played with his left knee strapped and had on the evidence of his first set seemed bound for one of those days on which his occasional casual shot-selection can look like a lack of desire.
"Hopefully (the knee) will get better with each match I play through to the Australian Open and the Davis Cup (in Brisbane on February 2-4 against Germany,'' he said.
The 22-minute first set was a disaster for Kyrgios, with 18 unforced errors to five by his opponent, a first-serve accuracy of only 44 per cent and consecutive double-faults when he dropped serve to go behind 1-5.
He was better in the second set, stating with how he put 70 per cent of first serves into play in it against the crafty Dolgopolov, ranked No. 38, and 68 per cent in the third set.
Dolgopolov saved a match point on his serve at 3-5 in the third set with a deep backhand groundstroke, but the Australian No. 1 prevailed on his fourth match points in the following game.
De Minaur has deeply impressed Kyrgios with his three wins this week, having previous won only one ATP main-draw match in his life.
"He is an unbelievable talent and a good kid as well,'' Kyrgios said.
"It's exciting to have a new face like that. I know when I was a young chip and had no pressure on me, just cleaning people up like he is.
"He's going to have a great, great future. I think he'll have a great year.''