Kyrgios Put On Aussie Open Show

first_imgMELBOURNE, Australia — Nick Kyrgios knows how to entertain a crowd. He hits shots between his legs and around the net posts. He smashes rackets. He argues with the chair umpire and interacts with fans in the stands. He smashes more rackets.And when he can control his explosive game and emotions, the crowd-pleasing Kyrgios has the talent to beat anyone on the biggest stages.At a raucous Hisense Arena at the Australian Open on Jan. 25, the 19-year-old Australian did just that: he came back from two sets down and saved a match point before beating Italian Andreas Seppi 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 8-6 in a 3½-hour match to reach the quarterfinals.“This is actually the most nervous I’ve ever been,” he said. “I am definitely feeling the pressure (playing at home), but at the same time I had so much fun out there.”It was a reprise of his breakout performance at Wimbledon last year where he saved nine match points in a come-from-behind win over Richard Gasquet and then stunned the then-No. 1 Rafael Nadal to reach the quarters.With both runs, Kyrgios is in elite company — the last man to reach the quarters at multiple majors as a teenager was Roger Federer in 2001.Kyrgios credited the deafening, standing-room-only crowd with helping him pull through the match against Seppi, but credited himself, too, for keeping his volatile emotions in check when it mattered.It didn’t start out this way. In the first set, he argued with the chair umpire repeatedly over a call and after dropping set point, smashed his racket with such force that it bent in half.Though he kept up a stream of expletives and continually talked to himself — as well as the crowd — he also calmed himself down at critical moments, particularly in the fifth set when he let a 4-1 lead slip and had to fight off a break point at 4-all.“I think I’m just managing my emotions a bit better out there,” he said. “When I needed to get into the crowd, I did that. … I’m just learning every time I step out on the court when to show emotion, when not to.”Kyrgios has been criticized for being too emotional in the past, including this week in the Australian media by former greats Fred Stolle and Pat Rafter. “If you want to, call them antics or frustrations or temper,” Stolle said, “but it’s something that he’s got to get rid of.”But others have leapt to his defense — he has a fan club on Twitter that uses the hashtag #NKRising — and Kyrgios himself said playing to the crowd helps him overcome nerves and boosts his energy levels when he needs it.His showmanship certainly livened up the crowd after he dropped the first two sets against Seppi. At one point in the fourth set, he hit a shot between his legs as he approached the net and, though he lost the point, the crowd roared.He had them laughing, too, when he shouted to a couple who got up to leave in the fifth set, “Hey, where are you going?”If Kyrgios plays his next match against Andy Murray in front of 15,000 screaming fans at Rod Laver Arena — the biggest stadium at Melbourne Park — his opponent should expect quite the show.“He’s dangerous. He’s unpredictable. He’s entertaining,” Murray said. “I’m going to have to play a good match.”(JUSTIN BERGMAN)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Panathinaikos blows away Lavrio on the road

first_imgA determined and highly concentrated Panathinaikos faced no problem whatsoever against Lavrio on the road, winning 84 – 60 and grabbing its eighth victory in the Greek Basket League.Giannis Bourousis was the top performer of the Greens with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals, while James Feldeine and K.C. Rivers dropped 13 points each. Chris Singleton (11 points) and youngster Vassilis Charalambopoulos (10 points, 5 rebounds) completed the winning puzzle for coach Pascual’s team.Lavrio couldn’t hope for much, especially after falling behind with a double-digit deficit (18 – 7) early in the match and reacting by shooting… horribly even from the free throw line (3/10 at the first Q). The guests took a 48 – 32 lead at halftime and finished the job more than easily in the remainder of the game.Brandon Young (11 points, 5 rebounds) and DJ Shelton (10 points, 6 rebounds) were the only players to score in double digits from the losing side.Panathinaikos (8-1) remains tied with AEK (8-1) at the second place of the Greek League standings, behind undefeated Olympiacos (9-0). Jure Zdovc’s players fought sufficiently well not only against Koroivos (2-7) but also the recent difficult situation with Mike Dixon’s involvement in a fatal car accident that obviously affected the atmosphere surrounding the team.PAOK (5-4) was a victim of an upset by first division newcomer Kymi (4-5) and now shares the third place with Aris (5-4) and Rethymno (5-4).Greek Basket League 2016/2017 – Week 9Rethymno – Promitheas Patras 104 – 97 (Robert Arnold 21 p. 9 r.)AEK – Koroivos Amaliada 89 – 75 (Milan Milosevic 15 p. 7 r. 7 a.)Aris Thessaloniki – Kolossos Rhodes 84 – 60 (Tadija Dragisevic 21 p.)Kymi – PAOK 93 – 82 (Chavdar Kostov 21 p.)Apollon Patras – Doxa Lefkada 74 – 65 (Nick Russell 18 p.)Trikala – Olympiacos 60 – 81 (Giannis Athinaiou 23 p.)Lavrio – Panathinaikos 60 – 84 (Giannis Bourousis 14 p. 5 r. 4 stl.)Source: EurohoopsTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more