Nick Kyrgios ‘keeps to the good habits’ as he produces ‘one of his best matches on clay’ in Houston

Shahida Jacobs
Nick Kyrgios in action

Nick Kyrgios made it two from two at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship as he defeated Tommy Paul to reach the quarter-final.

The Australian hasn’t played much on the service over the past few years due to injury and the coronavirus pandemic, but he won his first match on the red dirt since 2019 on Tuesday and made it back-to-back wins with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Paul in one hour and 10 minutes.

It is the first time since Houston 2018 that Kyrgios has made it into the last eight of a clay event.

The 26-year-old’s big serve was key to his victory as he won 88 per cent of his first-serve points while he broke in game five of the opening set and games one and seven of the second set.

“He’s a very good player. He’s young and he’s already shown what he can do and who he can beat,” Kyrgios said of Paul. “I had to be locked in today and I knew that I had to serve well. It’s probably one of the better matches I’ve played on clay in my career, so I’m pretty happy with the way I came out here today, just put my head down and went to work.”

He added: “I’ve been serving really well, so I just wanted to keep to good habits.”

Up next is lucky loser Michael Mmoh after the American defeated compatriot Sam Querrey 6-2, 6-4.

If Kyrgios comes through that match then he could face Reilly Opelka in the semi-final after the third-seeded American defeated Mitchell Krueger 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Qualifier Gijs Brouwer awaits Opelka after the Dutchman defeated JJ Wolf 6-1, 6-1.