Beijing - Nick Kyrgios said he wanted to make up for his
notorious meltdown last year in Shanghai as he beat Mischa Zverev in the second
round of the China Open on Wednesday.
A year ago the supremely talented but combustible Kyrgios
was suspended for his petulant behaviour at the Shanghai Masters, where he
swore and argued with the crowd and appeared to give away points in caving in
to the German.
The enigmatic Australian, seeded eighth on Beijing's outdoor
hard courts this year, smashed his racquet on the floor in anger, bending the
head in half, when he conceded the opening set on Wednesday.
That earned the world number 19 a warning from the umpire
and raised the spectre of one year ago.
But the 22-year-old returned for the second set with renewed
determination and errors began creeping into Zverev's game.
Zverev, ranked 27 in the world and the older brother of
rising star Alexander, surrendered his first service game of the second set and
Kyrgios was never in trouble after that, surging into the next round 3-6, 6-2,
During one changeover the Australian appeared so relaxed
that he sat back on his chair, arms behind his head, and sang along with a pop
hit being played over the stadium loudspeakers.
"Nothing really, just chilling out," Kyrgios,
whose suspect temperament sometimes outdoes his talent, said afterwards when
asked about his demeanour at times during the match.
Kyrgios said facing Zverev a year after Shanghai, and again
in China, was the perfect opportunity to show how far he has come.
"Obviously didn't have a great one last year, obviously
got suspended after that," he said.
"I just wanted to go out there today and kind of redeem
myself a little bit from last year," he said, adding: "I just wanted
to prove to myself how much I have improved."
Kyrgios, one of the most colourful characters in tennis,
added: "I knew it was going to be tough and I got broken early in the
"Then I kind of knew I had to loosen up and find my
rhythm a little bit."