In Review

'Clown' Kyrgios fails to get the better of disciplined Murray

John McEnroe criticises the erratic Australian as Andy Murray keeps his cool in the biggest match of the US Open first round

Andy Murray overcame tennis bogeyman Nick Kyrgios in the biggest match of the US Open first round, disposing of the Australian in four sets, eventually winning 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in front of a sell-out crowd at Flushing Meadow.

The match lived up to the hype, says Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian. It was billed as a public examination of Kyrgios's "tender psyche", and there had not been a "single dull second" in the match before the Australian inexplicably disintegrated in the fourth set, having just won the third.

"Kyrgios muttered and spluttered, grinned and grimaced, surfing all possibilities while oblivious to the likelihood of wipeout. Murray, no prisoner of orthodoxy himself but way more seasoned, rode the wave with him," says Mitchell.

It was another "curious and frustrating display" from the 20-year-old Krygios, says Simon Briggs of the Daily Telegraph. The Australian has become public enemy number one in the eyes of many since he was caught on microphone sledging opponent Stan Wawrinka last month, but commentator John McEnroe thought he was more of a "clown" during the match against Murray.

"It might seem hypocritical for McEnroe to attack a modern player for behaving badly, given his own track record," says Briggs. "Yet you could always rely on McEnroe to compete. Whereas, on Tuesday night, there were moments when Kyrgios attempted the sort of exhibition shots more often associated with tennis comedians like Mansour Bahrami."

The defining moment came when Kyrgios tried to produce a between-the-legs winner and missed the baseline with the court at his mercy. McEnroe described the decision as "brainfreeze" and "stupidity". Murray on the other hand "gritted his teeth and picked up the points that mattered", says Briggs, as he let his opponent blow himself out.

The only time when Kyrgios had the upper hand was during the third set, when he found the form of which he is capable. But even then he found a way to shoot himself in the foot, sacrificing the momentum he had generated with an extended break and change of kit.

"For large chunks of the match, the world No 37 also seemed more concerned with what he looked like than what quality of tennis he was producing," says Barry Flatman in The Times. "Black socks were rapidly replaced by a lurid lime-green pair, then a Milos Raonic-like sleeve was dispensed with and finally he left the court, after winning the third set, and returned wearing a completely sleeveless version of the shirt that he started the match wearing.

"Had Kyrgios continued straight into the fourth set rather than take a bathroom break, perhaps the match would have been different but Murray was given sufficient time to regroup and reassess."

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