Daria Gavrilova won, Nick Kyrgios lost, and that's all you really need to know about Aussie tennis fortunes at the Australian Open on Friday night.
Now for the all-important behaviour report. This will take a little longer. First to Gavrilova, who was really measured out there in beating 28th seeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. This match was tight, but the Aussie, who was granted citizenship in November, prevailed 6-4 4-6 11-9.
Gavrilova had one chance to serve for the match, which she blew. After the match, she explained that she rushed things, that she was too eager to win. So she calmed down, kept playing solidly, and the next time she had a chance to serve for the match, she made a sure thing of it.
"The crowd pulled me through in the end. They were great, I can’t thank them enough," Gavrilova said. "I've never had a match like that... it was my best win of my whole career."
There was an awkward moment at the end of her on-court interview which accidentally came out as a raunchy line, but it was all in the right spirit.
As for Nick Kyrgios, his performance tonight was a mixture of the right spirit and the sort of behavior which makes many Australians cringe.
The good stuff was his constant praising of Czech 6th seed Tomáš Berdych's good shots. The bad stuff was a blow-up at the umpire, then an awful comment to the same umpire at the end when he said "that was terrible refereeing".
Two nights ago, the Kyrgios drama centred around his shorts which were too tight or too loose or too something. On Friday night, it was all about music which was annoying the hell out of Kyrgios. But where was the music coming from? No one was sure. The chair umpire couldn't even hear it.
In the end, the only sound anyone could hear was that of Kyrgios complaining. If you strained really hard, you could just about hear the Channel Seven commentators trying to criticise him too -- and they NEVER criticise an Aussie.
In the end, Seven opted for a couple of blurry, nondescript comments. Jim Courier said “It’s a steep hill, the learning curve” and he definitely wasn't talking about tennis.
"Nick's just a little up and down," Bruce McAvaney said, which is like saying Melbourne's weather is just a touch changeable.
It's no unrelated fact in the eyes of this reporter that Nick Kyrgios lost the match as he lost control of his emotions. His round one and two opponents had been easier, but he'd beaten them with his notoriously feisty temper mostly in check.
Tonight he lost his cool, and with it, the match. Berdych won 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-4.
"I don’t think I played too bad," Kyrgios said afterwards. "He was so aggressive from the start until the finish, I didn’t feel like I had any rhythm."
Kyrgios has been without a coach since the middle of last year, but says he's not fussed. "I think I’m pretty content at the moment," he said, pressed on the coaching void.
Nick Kyrgios can hear music no one else can hear, but he can't see the thing every tennis fan and expert can, which is that he really needs a coach -- for the mental side of his game as much as the physical.Suggest a correction